Electric 'Worm Getter' Used by Fishermen Recalled by Six Retailers
Jun. 09, 1993
WASHINGTON (AP) _ An electric device used by anglers to shock worms to the soil's surface for bait is being recalled because 30 people have been electrocuted by similar instruments, a government agency said Wednesday.
The worm probe involved in the recall was manufactured by Handy Marketing Co. of Grand Rapids, Mich., which is no longer in business.
About 83,000 electric WG6-S and WG8-L ''Worm Getter'' worm probes were sold between 1980 and 1992 by Kmart stores and five mail-order catalog companies, Cabela's, Bass Pro Shops, Fishing Hot Spots, the Sportsman's Guide and Gander Mountain. Other unidentified retailers may have sold them.
Owners are asked to stop using the product and return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. The probes sold for $11 to $28 each.
The probes have a single, energized metal rod partially enclosed in plastic. They can be plugged into normal household electrical outlets and are inserted into the ground to agitate the worms.
''Consumers have been electrocuted by contacting the exposed metal shafts and shocked by touching the ground in the vicinity of the probe,'' the Consumer Product Safety Commission said in the recall notice.
The agency said it is aware of more than 30 deaths involving ''functionally-identical'' worm probes.
Those probes, primarily manufactured by mail-order companies, already have been taken off the market and owners were notified by mail, said Stacey Reuben Mesa, a spokeswoman for the commission.
Part of the problem is soil surface may be dry but the ground underneath it is moist. The handler of the probe isn't the only person at risk, Reuben Mesa said Wednesday.
''Anyone standing around it could become a target,'' she said.
The toll-free phone numbers for the catalog companies are Cabela's, 1-800-237-8888; Bass Pro Shops, 1-800-554-5488; Gander Mountain, 1-800-426-3371; The Sportsman's Guide, 1-800-888-5222; and Fishing Hot Spots, 1-800-338-5957.
Customers who purchased the ''Worm Getter'' elsewhere are asked to contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission at 1-800-638-2772.