An electrical maintenance contractor working on a wind tower here dangled 275 feet off the ground for almost one hour after falling Monday from the nacelle, which is located near the edge of the turbine.
According to Florida Power and Light spokesman Steve Stengel, the contractor works for San Jose, Calif., based Rosendin Electric.
Rosendin Electric did not return a phone call today seeking comment and confirmation of the contractor’s identity.
The wind tower – Tower 114 – is located at county roads 29 and 74 and was recently completed according to Peetz Fire Chief Rick Meier.
The rescue effort was conducted by wind tower site workers trained to handler similar situations, Stengel said.
According to information that reached FPL corporate offices, the contractor, after falling from the top, was suspended by a safety harness he was strapped in.
Peetz and Sterling fire crews, along with sheriff’s deputies and ambulance crews, were also called to respond. Local authorities stood by as backup while in-house rescue efforts were underway, Meier said.
Rescue workers were able to pull the man back to the top of the wind tower near the nacelle, where an opening leads inside the tower itself, where a ladder is situated.
Inside the tower, rescue workers guided the man down the ladder into a waiting ambulance.
“All our folks are trained on how to deal with this,” Stengel said. “The good news is the safety equipment performed as designed.”
As a precaution, local authorities called for a helicopter medical transport in case the medical condition of the contractor warranted an immediate transfer to a nearby hospital.
Meier canceled the helicopter response shortly after emergency medical crews saw no need for it.
The contractor was transported by ambulance to Sterling Regional MedCenter, where he was treated and released the same day.
Stengel said the accident remains under investigation.
By John Mangalonzo
Journal-Advocate staff writer
1 May 2007
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