A 16-year-old boy was electrocuted on Thursday morning when he tried to test a “chain” of LED lights from last Diwali at his Goabagan Street home in north Calcutta.
Police sources said Shantanu Sarkar, a Class VIII student, was handling live wires without taking necessary precautions. “The plug was missing from the chain of lights, leaving the positive-negative wires naked. Shantanu had inserted one wire in the plug and was trying to bite off the PVC coating of the second wire to release the copper filament. Unfortunately, the switch was on,” a police officer said.
Shantanu made several fatal mistakes, according to electrical engineers. “First and foremost, he was working with live wires. Second, he used his teeth to adjust the wire length and, third, he was working without shoes,” said an electrical expert.
“A wire attached to the lights was already plugged in. The moment he put the other wire in his mouth, electricity passed through his body and reached the ground, completing the circuit,” he added.
The boy’s parents were at work and he was alone in his room. Neighbours said they heard a thud inside the house and found him lying unconscious on the floor. He was taken to a nursing home where he was declared dead.
A teacher of illumination science at Jadavpur University said Kali Puja and Diwali lights could lead to fatal accidents if handled incorrectly and without caution. “The cheap lights available in the market don’t have any adapter or power breaker. An adapter can minimise the shock but the slightest mistake can turn fatal in its absence.”
If the lights are taped at several places, special care should be taken to ensure proper insulation.