THE BLADE/LORI KING
ADRIAN — A 38-year-old man was injured Friday morning when an oil-drilling derrick in Adrian’s Heritage Park partially collapsed, authorities said.
The victim, whose name had not been released by nightfall, was flown to the University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio Hospital, Raisin Township Fire Chief Richard Renard said. The incident was reported at 10:58 a.m.
According to Chief Renard, the man fell 15 to 20 feet from a scaffold when the derrick partially collapsed. The structure was about 75 feet tall.
“The victim was wearing a safety harness, which kept him from hitting the ground,” Chief Renard said. “His co-workers brought him down to level ground before we arrived.”
Gusty winds buffeted the region, but Chief Renard declined to speculate on whether wind played a role in the drilling rig’s collapse. Investigators from Michigan’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration will visit the site next week, the chief said.
The National Weather Service reported a west wind of 16 mph, gusting to 25, at 11 a.m. at nearby Lenawee County Airport.
According to nearby residents, Savoy Exploration Co., which is based in Traverse City, Mich., began drilling at the site two days ago.
The oil exploration company did not return phone calls on Friday. Public records show the company and Savoy negotiated a drilling lease for the park two years ago.
“They were pulling up 20 foot [long] cylinders as they drilled,” said nearby resident Dave Wegner, who has been visiting the site frequently since the company began erecting the derrick two weeks ago.
He and his wife, Joyce, got a close view of the accident scene.
“It looks like it folded up in half,” Mr. Wegner said.
The Adrian Fire Department and Lenawee County Tech Rescue Team also responded to the scene.