Tuesday, June 30, 2015



2 dead following tower collapse



BLAINE — A pair of communications towers fell Tuesday morning in rural Pottawatomie County, killing two people.

Pottawatomie County Emergency Management Director Chris Trudo confirmed at around noon that one person was dead another person had been transported to Onaga Community Hospital in serious condition following the collapse. The towers are just north of Kansas Highway 16 and just east of Rock Creek road, 1.5 miles southwest of Blaine.

Later in the afternoon, Aaron Hunt, a spokesman for Union Pacific Railroad, which owns the towers, told the Mercury the second victim had died.

“Today, shortly after 9 a.m. in Blaine, Kan., a telecommunication tower was being disassembled, and there was an accident and both the old tower and replacement tower went down,” Hunt said. “Two adult males perished in the accident.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to the friends and families of those individuals. We will collaborate with the Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Department in the investigation of what happened.”

Trudo said four people were at the scene at the time of the incident with two people on one of the towers. The other two were on the ground and were not injured.
Hunt said the victims were contracted workers for Union Pacific.

In a press release, Pottawatomie County Sheriff Greg Riat said one worker was pronounced dead at the scene and that both were reported to be near the top of the tower when it fell.

The fallen towers were bent and damaged on the ground at the site of the accident. According to cellreception.com, a website that maps and provides information on cell phone towers using Google maps, one of the towers was 78.3 meters, or just over 256 feet, tall.

A resident of the area said the second tower had been put up just a couple of weeks ago.

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