Wind turbine rescue

Monticello Fire Department photo

Monticello Fire Department photo

The victim was attached to a mechanical advantage system with Monticello firefighter Cody Scheurich operating the lowering device, while firefighters Ryan Blake and Nick Green descended with the victim to tend to any medical needs or emergency situations on the way back to the ground.

REYNOLDS — A contractor had to be rescued Saturday morning from the top of a nearly 350-foot-tall wind turbine after he suffered a medical emergency while working on a piece of equipment.

The man, 54, a contractor for Kiewit Power Constructors whose name and hometown were not released, suffered the medical episode while working in the hub of a wind turbine near the intersection on County Road 600 West and County Road 400 North. It’s located where the new Rosewater Wind Farm is currently under construction north of US 24 between Reynolds and Wolcott.

The hub is located where the propeller blades and nacelle — a cover housing for all of the generating components in a wind turbine, including the generator, gearbox, drive train, and brake assembly — connect to the shaft.

According to Capt. Robert Hickman, of the Monticello Fire Department, White County 911 received the call for help at 10:26 a.m. Saturday. Fourteen Monticello Fire Department personnel, as well as members of Wolcott Ambulance Service and Wolcott Fire Department, responded and worked with officials from EDP Renewables, the owner of the wind turbine, and Kiewit to devise a plan to rescue the contractor.

Hickman said firefighter/paramedics Cody Scheurich, Nick Green and Ryan Blake ascended the 340-foot-tall structure via the wind turbine’s interior vertical ladder and arrived at the top at about 11:30 a.m.

There, Hickman said, they found both the 54-year-old victim and a superintendent from Kiewit. The firefighters, he said, initiated Advanced Life Support treatment while still in the hub. Working with the superintendent, firefighters then prepared the victim for removal.

About 20 minutes after their arrival at the top, the firefighters lowered the man to the ground, where he was then transported to Indiana University Health Arnett Hospital in Lafayette. His condition is not known at this time.

“The rescue turned out to be a community effort,” Hickman said via email Sunday night. “Employees of EDP Renewables and Kiewit Power Constructors provided information about the windmill and its systems. Deputies from the White County Sheriff Office were also on scene, and other assistance was provided off scene.”

Because nearly three-fourths of Monticello’s firefighters/paramedics responded to the scene and were actively involved in the rescue, Hickman said the Idaville Volunteer Fire Department and Monon First Response Ambulance provided temporary emergency coverage from the Monticello Fire Department.

Trending Food Videos