Man Buried; Investigation into Dalles Turbine Accident Continues - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Man Buried; Investigation into Dalles Turbine Accident Continues

The man killed last weekend when the wind turbine on which he was working collapsed was buried Friday.  Meanwhile, investigators for the company that manufactures the turbines were on-site wrapping up their days-long probe into the possible cause of the deadly accident.

It was at the Klondike III wind farm east of the Dalles that Chadd Mitchell of Goldendale died. He was an employee of Siemens Power Generation.

Siemans is a major producer of turbines. Those at the Klondike III farm are large compared to any in Eastern Washington.  At 420 feet in height, they tower over those at the Nine Canyon wind farm near Kennewick, which measure approximately 300 feet. 

Brad Peck with Energy Northwest, the firm that established the Nine Canyon wind farm, said it would inappropriate to speculate what caused the huge turbine to collapse near the Dalles.  He did offer a comment on the safety of turbines on Friday. 

"These are complex modern machines. They have a number of safety features, not the least of which is they will automatically go into a shutdown mode if the wind reaches a certain intensity over a period of time.  (They are) very sophisticated, and statistically a very safe machine."

Preliminary reports indicate the blades on the turbine were moving at a high rate of speed when the accident happened.  Melanie Forbrick with Siemens said Friday it may be six months before more information is known.  She said Siemens is working in coooperation with OSHA.

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