Orchard Worker Dies after Blade Falls Off Wind Machine

FRESNO (AP) — Authorities say a worker at a California citrus orchard has died after a blade from a wind machine fell off and struck him.

The Fresno Bee reports a 600-pound (272-kilogram) propeller struck 53-year-old Richard Escobedo on Jan. 3 at the orchard operated by Wonderful Citrus northeast of Visalia.

Escobedo was airlifted to a hospital where he later died. The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office says he died of “multiple blunt force trauma.”

The Wonderful Company says it is investigating the accident and will “take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that it does not happen again.”

Wind machines circulate warmer air into orchards on freezing nights.

The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration says it has opened an investigation into the workplace death.

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