The owners of a wind farm say it will not re-open until they find out why an 80-metre wind turbine collapsed.
When the huge £2 million structure crashed to the ground the sound could be heard up to seven miles away, though fortunately no one was injured.
An investigation has been launched in a bid to establish why the machine, on a Screggagh wind farm on Murphy mountain near Fintona in County Tyrone, buckled and fell to the ground.
Grinding metal noise
The workplace accident on January 2 left debris scattered across a wide area of mountainside between Fivemiletown and Fintona.
Some people living nearby described hearing a sound resembling an explosion, while others report hearing a grinding metal noise for hours before the incident. Some people say the turbine’s rotor blades were spinning out of control on the evening it collapsed.
The £26 million wind farm, which was officially opened in March 2011, has a total of eight turbines and generates enough renewable energy to power nearly 12,000 homes a year.
Its director, Doreen Walker, says staff are working with Nordex UK Ltd, which supplied the turbine, in a bid to find out why the structure collapsed.
Debris embedded in ground
She says the farm will not reopen until Nordex UK has completed its investigation and confirmed that the other seven turbines can be used safely.
Ms Walker says there were no staff on the site when the turbine collapsed, leaving parts of the structure embedded in the ground some distance from where it stood.
But Ms Walker stressed that all of the debris had fallen within the site with none landing on neighbouring properties or the nearby public road.
She says the company is satisfied that its health and safety alert procedures worked effectively, adding that personnel from the emergency services had arrived on site within minutes.
At the time of the collapse the wind is thought to have been blowing at about 10 to 12 metres per second, a speed that has been described as medium.
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Date Published: January 6, 2015
Author: David Brown