Emergency crews responded to Boston’s Deer Island on Memorial Day after they received reports that an out-of-service windmill had broken free and was spinning out of control.
Responders were able to halt the windmill’s uncontrolled spin just before 3:30 p.m., hours after the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority said a hiker “noticed one of the two wind turbines had something hanging from one of the blades.”
“They called 911 and MWRA staff and emergency personnel responded,” a MWRA spokesperson said in a release.
The wind turbine, which is on MWRA’s property, has been out of service for more than a year due to a mechanical problem and should have been locked in place, according to the release. What led to its spinning free was still unknown.
“Although it’s too soon to speculate on what happened, it appears that this morning’s strong winds broke the braking mechanism and the turbine began to free spin,” MWRA said in a release.
The island is home to walking trails popular with day hikers, and video shot by passersby and shared online showed the blades of the 100-foot-tall, 600-kilowatt windmill rotating at a normal speed, though the tip of one blade appeared bent or broken and hanging away from the body of the machine.
As it rotates, the broken end of the blade can be seen shearing away, the flying debris then flung hundreds of feet through the air to land elsewhere on the island but causing no injuries, according to the MWRA.
Public access to the trails around the facility was suspended while the turbine spun out of control and after, “out of an abundance of caution.”
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