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Published on January 9th, 2009 | by Timothy B. Hurst


Did a UFO Really Wreck the Wind Turbine in the UK?

January 9th, 2009 by  

New details have emerged that may dispel rumors of a tentacle-shaped UFO reportedly striking a wind turbine in England.

fixing a broken wind turbine

As we reported earlier this week, a broken wind turbine in the English county of Lincolnshire has officials completely baffled as to what may have caused one turbine blade to break-off and another to have a large, mysterious bend about half-way down its 20 meter length [not pictured here].

Some witnesses say they saw unusual flickering and cascading lights in the area a few hours before the turbine blades apparently broke at around 4 A.M. And that was all that British tabloid, The Sun, needed to publish Thursday’s front page headline: “UFO hits wind turbine.”


The Sun reports that one witness, John Harrison, looked out his window and saw a “massive ball of light with tentacles going right down to the ground” over the wind farm. “It was huge,” said Harrison, “with the tentacles it looked just like an octopus.”

But what broke one turbine clear off and bent the other in half, may not have been the huge-tentacled ball of light after all. According to Guardian blogger Jemima Kiss, the mysterious lights were actually the fireworks of The Guardian‘s director of digital content, Emily Bell’s brother. Bell’s brother Tim had bought fireworks at a local store to set-off in celebration of their father’s birthday. “It was a medium-sized fireworks display with absolutely no ballistics,” said Bell. “The fireworks were mostly dropping over my parents’ house. But we were laughing that we could have broken the wind turbine,” she said.

Ecotricity, the turbine’s owners, have no explanation for the breakage. Dale Vince, founder of the renewable energy development company, said on the BBC’s Today program that, whatever hit the Lincolnshire wind turbine blades was “probably the size and weight of a cow.”

Another, perhaps, more likely theory is that material fatigue in the blades caused the failure, with perhaps one blade falling off and denting the other. But Ecotricity’s Vince said they have no reason to believe that the failure was fatigue-related. For that to have happened, Vince said the turbine would had to have suffered a “catastrophic failure.”

Ecotricity engineers continue to investigate the broken turbine. But for now, says Vince, “The UFO theory, kind of like, funny as it may sound, is the best one we’ve currently got.”

Image: ark via flickr under a Creative Commons License 


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About the Author

is the founder of ecopolitology and the executive editor at LiveOAK Media, a media network about the politics of energy and the environment, green business, cleantech, and green living. When not reading, writing, thinking or talking about environmental politics with anyone who will listen, Tim spends his time skiing in Colorado's high country, hiking with his dog, and getting dirty in his vegetable garden.

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