Blade from wind turbine falls into Oklahoma man’s cornfield

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ENID, Okla. -- Nearly two months after a blade broke off a turbine at an Enid farm, investigators are still investigating the root cause of the incident.

In late May, a blade broke off a wind turbine on Breckinridge Road and flew into a 160 acre cornfield owned by Ken Carpenter. He tells Newschannel 4 it's something he was surprised to discover in his own backyard.

"The turbine sits in the cornfield, but the blade broke off and flew about 100 yards north of the turbine ," recalls Carpenter. "It flattened the corn, destroyed it."

Since the May 31 incident, the turbine's blade has been replaced by General Electric and it has resumed to normal operations.

The investigation into what caused the blade to break is still ongoing. At this point, part of the damaged blade has been collected by General Electric while the other part remains on the Breckenridge property.

The Enid property is one of 13 wind farms in Oklahoma operated by NextEra Energy. Company spokesman Bryan Garner describes the incident as nothing more than an equipment failure issue; however, he admits it doesn't happen often.

"It's rare that equipment problems happen but with anything mechanical, from time to time, parts do fail," says Garner. "When they do, we replace them safely and as quickly as possible."

While company officials continue to investigate, Carpenter says he says concerns over safety still linger.

"Us farmers, we`re out in the field all the time so hopefully it doesn't happen again," he says.

When asked whether people should be concerned or should avoid being near turbines, Garner told Newschannel 4 the company does not believe safety is an issue. He says wind turbines are placed far from roadways and homes, adding NextEra's diagnostic center has visibility on all of its turbines across the country.

According to Garner, they are able to diagnose and identify necessary repairs before it becomes a problem in most cases.

"In this case, we saw that a turbine went offline and had to investigate after the fact and find out indeed a blade had failed," he says.

Garner says General Electric's investigation into the official cause of the blade failure could take months. We're told NextEra Energy is prepared to pay for any crop damage or land impacted as a result of this incident.

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