A CORONIAL inquest into the deaths of Rainbow father and son John and Michael Helyar, who died after a windmill they were moving struck powerlines in March, continued on Tuesday after delays on Monday because Energy Safe Victora solicitor John Murphy was late to arrive.
Electric shock survivor and property owner Fabian Douglas said on Monday John Helyar had been involved with the property for more than 50 years and at one stage his father had owned it.
"Had I thought about it, the powerlines probably would have been an issue," Mr Douglas said.
"But I trusted John's knowledge and his involvement with the property.
"He knew it better than I did and had been involved with moving a large house there.
"It would have been like telling him there was a powerline on his own property."
Mr Douglas said the Helyars had been working on a dam on the property in full sight of the powerline.
"They must have underestimated the height of the windmill or else been distracted at a crucial moment ? John was a very careful operator."
Mr Douglas said that on the day of the incident he was 'very distressed'.
After attempting to move the Helyars away from a grass fire and failing, he said he drove to sheds on the property and got six buckets of water.
"I could see their clothes were burning," he said. "I was now extremely distressed, that now apparently dead men would be burned beyond recognition and I tried to throw the water in an arc to put the fire out.
"But I realised this was futile, because the water arc acted as a conductor for the electricity."
Mr Douglas said he headed back towards the house and found his wife Joan Douglas on the way to the site.
"I told her to get into the car, but to my absolute dismay she refused to get in the car and continued towards the site.
"I went inside and tried to call 000, but the phone was dead."
Mr Douglas said he heard the fire truck arriving and went to the front gate to warn CFA crews about the powerlines.
"I also warned the local copper Leading Senior Constable Tony Clark from Rainbow."
Leading Senior Constable Clark gave evidence that he was driving with his wife Simone in a police car along Nhill-Rainbow Road when the pair, who were CFA volunteers, were paged about a grass fire nearby.
"I had removed all equipment from the vehicle because I was going to be going on extended sick leave the next day," he said.
"I thought the page did not sit right because the weather on the day was not conducive to fire.
"Given my location, I decided to investigate."
Leading Senior Constable Clark said he noticed two vehicles in the driveway of the property.
"In one was Joan Douglas and in the other was Fabian Douglas.
"Joan said to me 'John and Mick Helyar are dead, I'm just going to tell their wives'."
Leading Senior Constable Clark said he went west towards a paddock and saw the windmill, which was about 15 metres tall, sitting on a single electricity line.
"At the base of the windmill I saw two people lying on the ground not moving," he said.
"I requested an ambulance and electricity company representatives because the line was down. I also noticed two men coming towards me ? Nathan and Ian Wheeler.
"Each had a plastic yellow bucket which they dropped. They were staggering, red in the face, crying and having trouble walking. Ian went to Simone and Nathan came to me. Both fell into our arms. Both were hysterical.
"Nathan said 'John and Mick Helyar are dead, dad tried to grab John and was getting electrocuted, but I kicked him away'."
Sergeant Nelson Barwise of Nhill Police Station gave evidence on Tuesday that he attended the scene and notified the families of the deceased on the day of the incident.
Sergeant Barwise said he could only imagine the panic on the scene at the time and the panic John Helyar felt trying to save his son.
"I would like to issue an apology to Lyn Helyar who requested to be allowed on the site on the day," he said.
"It was my decision and my decision alone not to allow her onto the site. I felt at the time that it would be better for her to remember her family members as they left for work that morning."
Sergeant Barwise said he was also dismayed that Michael's wife Kylie Helyar suffered distress because she first heard about the incident while listening to the radio at work.
"I would also like to acknowledge the efforts of Ian and Nathan Wheeler and Fabian Douglas," he said.
"They risked their lives and it should be acknowledged that Nathan did a great thing in being able to save his father by kicking him away from the electricity."
The inquest has been adjourned until April 18, 19 and 20 next year for members of the bar to consult experts about electrical technicalities.