A 50-tonne crane ran off an access road and slipped down a bank on the Tararua Wind Farm yesterday, tipping on its side.
The driver survived with moderate injuries. He was taken with a leg injury by ambulance to Palmerston North Hospital shortly after 10am.
The damaged crane belongs to Verticon New Zealand, a maintenance subcontractor at the wind farm.
Ashhurst Senior Constable Andy Nicholls said the accident could have been a lot worse as the crane could easily have gone over the bank and plunged towards the access road below.
“He did well to put it where he put it,” Mr Nicholls said.
Conditions at the time were “atrocious”, with torrential rain, he said.
There was no indication the driver was thrown out of the crane’s cab, he said.
Police have talked to the driver.
Verticon representative Daniel Smith said the crane may have “had a brake failure”, but added “we don’t know that’s the case”.
“It went down the hill and skidded into the side of the bank.”
He said “of course” there will be a review.
The company has 53 cranes in its fleet.
The Department of Labour is also investigating the crash. It expects to take several weeks.
The wind farm is owned by TrustPower.
“It’s the first time we’ve had an accident of this nature on our site,” said TrustPower major projects manager Deion Campbell.
He said the crane was on a steep private access road at the wind farm when the crash occurred.
No oil spilled from the crane, he said.
By Grant Miller
18 October 2007
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