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WEST PALM BEACH (CBSMiami/AP) — Tragedy struck a West Palm neighborhood when a man was killed while trying to retrieve one of his pet birds.

Officials say 36-year-old Elian Garcia Rivers was electrocuted when he used a metal pole to remove one of his pigeons from a power line.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office says Rivera was in his backyard Saturday afternoon when he spotted one of his pigeons on a power line running above.

They say he got a 20-foot pole and tried to remove the bird, but he touched the power line and was electrocuted.

According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology , birds can safely sit on wires because they aren’t grounded — so the electricity in the power line stays put.

People get electrocuted when they touch a power line because they are on the ground, causing the electricity to flow through them.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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