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Crane crashlands at wind farm

There were no injuries at a crane accident Monday night on a Lee/La Salle County wind farm.

“It was an unfortunate accident,” GSG Wind Energy vice president Bruce Papiech said.

The accident occurred at a wind turbine site about five miles north of Mendota near West Brooklyn Road. Papiech said the crane was lifting a turbine off a truck when the boom folded over.
He could not provide much more detail because of insurance reasons.

Neighbor John Truckenbrod said he did not see the accident but was told the crane lifted a part off the truck and the crane began sinking into the ground on one side. It began to lean, then break and crash down, according to Truckenbrod.

Papiech said there were no injuries and it will not cause a delay with the wind farm. The crane will not be moved until insurance investigators are finished, but the turbine can be built around the wreckage.

Papiech was unsure if any of the turbine parts were damaged during the accident.

“Everything is pretty strong,” Papiech said.
He said it was not unusual for workers to be working at night. The wind dies down around sunset and sunrise, making it easier to work and shipments of parts can come in late in the afternoon.

“They work a varied schedule,” Papiech said.

Papiech and his wife, Joyce, both of Sublette, have been working for more than five years to get the wind farm constructed.

They are building an 80-megawatt wind farm using 40 turbines in Lee and La Salle counties. One megawatt is enough to power 8,000 homes.