Page last updated at 09:54 GMT, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 10:54 UK

Boy survives 25,000 volt shock

Sam Cunningham (pic courtesy of MEN)
Sam will need skin grafts but is expected to return home next week

A teenager is recovering in hospital after a 25,000-volt electric shock which threw him 25ft (7.6m) onto a railway line in Wigan.

Sam Cunningham, 16, was wearing steel toecaps when he tried to retrieve a rugby ball from a bridge and a charge leapt from overhead power lines.

He fell onto the track below and was knocked unconscious but did not get electrocuted.

He suffered severe burns and is expected to make a full recovery.

His friends called emergency services, who alerted the rail networks to stop trains on the main line between Manchester and Wigan.

When Sam, who suffered burns to his legs, arm, back and face, came round, he managed to call his mother Ann.

The mother-of-four immediately went to the track, at Platt Bridge.

He said he just remembers seeing a flash and then feeling himself spinning around
Ann, Sam's mother

Ms Cunningham, 40, a health care assistant, said: "I got there within a couple of minutes and all his clothes had been burned off, he was shaking from head to toe and the line was still live.

"All his hair had been singed and smoke was coming from the bandages paramedics had put on his legs.

"My head was just in bits and I can't believe that he is still alive - I don't think anybody can.

"Sam can't remember much about what happened.

"He said he just remembers seeing a flash and then feeling himself spinning around."

She added: "He is still very sore but he has not lost his sense of humour. He's a typical Wigan lad and is missing his pies."

Sam, a labourer, is being treated in the specialist burns unit at Whiston Hospital, Merseyside.

He will require skin grafts but is expected to make a full recovery and be back home next week.

A British Transport Police spokesman said he was "very lucky to be alive".

"A shock such as that can be fatal.

"We would like to reinforce that the railway environment is a highly dangerous place and advise that no person should go on or near the railway lines in any circumstances."

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