Florida man dies using 20-foot metal pole to get pigeon off power line, cops say

Pigeons sit on a power supply line in Bremen in northern Germany on Nov. 19, 2008.
Pigeons sit on a power supply line in Bremen in northern Germany on Nov. 19, 2008. AP

A man who kept pigeons in his backyard near Palm Springs, Florida, died over the weekend after he tried using a metal pole to get one of the birds off a power line, local authorities said.

Palm Beach County deputies said 36-year-old Elian Garcia-Rivera was tossed to the ground Saturday when the 20-foot metal pool pole he was holding touched the power line, WPTV reports.

Deputies said Garcia-Rivera was hospitalized after he was discovered around 3 p.m. between the large pigeon coop in his yard and a chain link fence, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Garcia-Rivera died at the hospital, CBS 12 reports.

According to engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, birds are able to perch on power lines without electrocuting themselves because they’re not touching the ground, whereas if a human comes in contact with a power line, electricity from the line can course through him or her to reach solid ground, the Associated Press reports.

Earlier this month, a high school baseball coach and his wife were killed in the Florida panhandle when they were electrocuted as they cleaned up a field damaged by Hurricane Michael, the Miami Herald reported. Local authorities said a teenager was also injured in that incident.

The three who were electrocuted in the earlier incident had been working on fixing the scoreboard, according to the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office.

Melissa Hoxter and her companions saved a pigeon that was tied up in almost a foot of string on Avila Beach. With the help of Van Curaza Surf School, they were able to cut the string and free the bird's talons, which were losing circulation