Turbine components weighing 50-tons fell 246 feet to the frozen ground on Saturday (Feb 20, 2009) when the blades of a turbine under construction east of Waverly caught wind and started rotating at a speed reaching 60 rpm.
The hub housing the generating components of the Cannon II turbine and the structure's three 177-foot blades collapsed after spinning for hours at the mercy of the wind, says Waverly Light and Power General Manager Diane Johnson.
A gust caught the blades prematurely on Friday because, prior to the installation, they were not turned in a way that would have prevented them from catching wind until construction was complete, according to a press release issued by the municipal utility.
"It could have spun for days," Johnson says. On Monday, as the mangled blades lay at the base of the tower, construction crews worked to dismantle the structure's top and middle sections to reinforce the turbine.
Crew and neighbors were evacuated overnight until the structure collapsed under its own weight.