An investigation has been launched after a man died when the 130-tonne mobile crane he was driving collapsed close to Scout Moor wind farm.
The driver, who hasn’t been identified, became trapped after the vehicle hit an earth bank and caused the crane to fall on the road leading down from Scout Moor Quarry.
Police said the man had been working on the wind farm site and was on his way back down the private road off Rochdale Road, Edenfield, when the tragedy happened.
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said the driver was pronounced dead at the scene and a joint investigation with the Health and Safety Executive had started.
He said: “We are investigating an unexplained incident involving a vehicle, an 8 axle mobile crane.
“It has left the road at Scout Moor Quarry, come to a halt, and the driver has become trapped.”
Fire crews, paramedics and a police helicopter were all sent to the scene following reports of the incident at around midday on Monday.
The road was cordoned off while the attempted rescue and investigation began.
John Taylor, of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said a specialist urban search and rescue team from Leyland were on site.
He said: “A 130-tonne crane has hit an earth bank and it has collapsed. Someone was trapped, presumably the driver. Sadly when the crews got there he was pronounced as dead. It’s a tragic thing.”
An Edenfield farmer, who didn’t want to be named, said: “I don’t know what happened but it is tragic because a man has died. You can only think of his family. It’s terrible and could have been a lot worse if this crane had come down on a busy road.”
Baldwins Crane Hire confirmed the man who died was one of the company’s drivers but chose not to comment at this stage.
The HSE said they had sent two inspectors to the Scout Moor site.
The incident happened after claims this week that the windfarm – England’s largest based onshore – could double in size under expansion plans.
Owners Peel Energy has opened initial talks with Rossendale council about the possible expansion.
On Friday, August 12 components including new blades and tower parts were delivered to the moor by police escort to repair a turbine damaged by a fire earlier this year caused by an electrical fault.
Scout Moor, which opened in September 2008 following a lengthy planning dispute and public inquiry, is made up of 26 300ft high turbines, each weighing 251 tonnes.
This video shows the scene of the incident earlier today: