News is coming on of an accident at the Port of Harwich in the UK, where a crane has dropped a wind turbine blade this moning.
We understand from people at the scene that a 45 tonne blade root was being lifted in an H-type lifting frame by the jack-up vessel Sea Jack, when the frame gave way and dropped the load crushing a banksman employed by Siemens who had, along with a colleague, been trying to land the load into its stowage rack on board the vessel..
We understand that the man, later revealed as 42 year old Per Terp from Denmark, was pronounced dead at the scene while the other man was seriously injured but is in stable condition.
Our sources indicate that while crane and lifting specialists are responsible for all land based lifting - loading and unloading the transport vehicles that move the components from the storage are to the quayside - and rigging of these blades and other components, Port of Harwich employees carry out the rigging and lift management with the ship to shore lifts.
This part of the port - Parkstone Quay - is currently shut while the police and Health & Safety executive investigate. The Port has confirmed that an accident has occured but said that it cannot comment at this time.
The Sea Jack is owned and operated by A2SEA and its crane is an 800 tonne capacity Manitowoc M1200 Ringer with 115 metre main boom.
The turbine blade is for one of 42 Siemens 3.6 MW turbines with 100 metre diameter rotors for the Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm which, with 140 turbines, will be the largest in the world.
It would be wholly inappropriate to comment too much at this stage, where a man has lost his life and investigations are just beginning. One point that appears clear though, is that the investigation is likely to zone in on either the rigging of this load or the design of the H Frame, rather than the crane or crane operator.