Two arborists killed while dismantling festival structure
Two arborists were killed Thursday in a boom-lift accident that occurred while they were taking down shades strung over the main stage area at the Pickathon music festival on Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office reported.
The incident occurred around 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8. The two arborists were private contractors, helping to break down a shade installation above the main Mount Hood Stage at the Pickathon music festival, which concluded Sunday Aug. 4. Crews were taking down the festival sets and equipment and had expected to finish their work Friday, Aug. 9.
The preliminary investigation indicates the arborists had been ascending in a boom lift before climbing further up trees to get to ropes holding up the complex shade installation. They were wearing safety equipment and roped to the boom lift, which was reportedly positioned on an incline.
The arborists were approximately 40 feet in the air when the boom lift tilted and fell. The arborists, still roped to the boom, were pulled to the ground with considerable force. Attempts at CPR were unsuccessful.
Several agencies reported to the scene, including Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Patrol deputies and CSI technicians, Clackamas Fire District No. 1, the Clackamas County Medical Examiner's Office, Happy Valley Police Department and American Medical Response.
Investigators are still processing the scene, and the owner of Pendarvis Farm is cooperating fully with authorities. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials will report to the scene to further investigate the accident.
The Medical Examiner's Office had determined that the two fatalities are likely accidental deaths. The names of the deceased will not be released at this time pending family notifications.
"We are shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic loss of two members of the GuildWorks crew during breakdown of this year's festival," said a statement from Pickathon organizers. "Please join us in offering up prayers and support to their families and friends during this difficult time. All involved in Pickathon are like members of a family to us. We will wrap our collective arms around all affected and share in the grieving process. Please stay connected to (Pickathon.com) as we work to provide support to the families."
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