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BNSF has 2nd crane accident in Gillette

(The following report appeared on The News-Record website on September 12.)

GILLETTE, Wyo. — A man was flown by air ambulance to Wyoming Medical Center in Casper after the BNSF Railway crane on which he was working tipped over early Tuesday afternoon.

It was the second railroad crane accident BNSF has had in the area in as many months. On Aug. 3, a crane doing bridge work just east of the Crook County line tipped over, killing Charles Willey of Chapell, Neb.

Matthew Henry was treated and released, according to Gus Melonas, a BNSF spokesman based in Seattle. Melonas would not say where Henry was from or how old he is, citing company policy.

Converse County Sheriff Lt. Steve Nunez said his department received a call at 12:09 p.m. that a crane had tipped over on north-south railroad track two-tenths of a mile north of the Campbell County border.

Nunez arrived at the scene shortly before 1 p.m. to find a Wright ambulance crew attending to Henry, who was complaining of neck pain. Campbell County Sheriff Bill Pownall had few details about the accident, except that it was at mile marker 59.8 on the Orin Subdivision, near Antelope Road.

According to people with the railroad speaking on background, Henry had been working on what is known as a gantry train at the time of the accident. Such cranes run alongside flatbed cars carrying concrete rail ties, picking them up and placing them ahead of machines that lay track.

Nunez said the crane was on its side, “pretty much upside down.”

Melonas said the accident did not affect service on track.

The Orin Subdivision has been an area of heavy construction this summer as BNSF Railway invests millions of dollars to add more carrying capacity to the railroad’s coal network. The area where the accident occurred is supposed to have quadruple track laid by the end of the year.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

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