TWO men died and three men were injured after a windmill touched a 12,500-volt power line on a farm near Rainbow yesterday.
Johnny Helyar, aged in his 60s, and his son Mick Helyar, aged in his 40s, were killed at a farm on the Nhill-Rainbow Road, 20 kilometres west of Rainbow, about 11.45am yesterday.
Five men were using a tractor to move a windmill when it struck a single powerline.
A fire destroyed the tractor before being contained by Rainbow and Pigick fire crews about 2.30pm after the area was declared safe.
Ian Wheeler, aged in his 60s, and his son Nathan Wheeler, aged in his 30s, suffered burns trying to save their friends.
Paramedics treated the two injured men for serious burns to their feet and legs.
The Mail-Times understands the injured father also survived an electric shock while working with a windmill in the 1980s.
The injured men were taken in a satisfactory condition by helicopter to Horsham before being taken by fixed-wing aircraft to Melbourne's Alfred Hospital.
Paramedics treated the third man, the property owner, for cardiac problems after he tried to help save the dead men.
He was taken to Jeparit Hospital.
Ambulances were forced to wait at the gate of the property because they could not access the scene because of the sandy terrain.
Ambulance Victoria Wimmera group manager Sandy Kahn said all five men were well known in the Rainbow district.
"It's going to really impact on the Rainbow community. It's a tragic farming accident," he said.
Horsham Police Service Area Inspector Colin Renton said the five men were using a front-end loader to move a windmill up a hill and beside a dam and bore.
"But no-one looked up," he said.
Mr Renton said the windmill hit a 12,500-volt power line within 10 metres of the dam.
He said three families and countless friends would be affected by the accident.
"Police have spoken to all the families and they are very distraught and upset," he said.
"It's always a shock to a small community."
A crime scene officer, Horsham's Criminal Investigation Unit, several uniformed officers from across the Wimmera, WorkSafe investigators and a Powercor inspector were at the site, north of Lake Hindmarsh.
Energy Safe Victoria staff were also expected to visit the scene.