HAPPY VALLEY, OR (KPTV) – Clackamas Fire says two people breaking down the Pickathon Music Festival died after a cherry picker fell to the ground in Happy Valley.
The incident happened at about 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Pendarvis Farm on Southeast Hagen Road, where the music festival was underway last weekend. The festival ended on Sunday.
According to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, early reports from the scene were that two arborists had been ascending in a boom lift, also known as a cherry picker, before climbing further up trees to get to ropes holding up a complex shade installation used during the festival.
They were wearing safety equipment and were roped to the boom lift, which was reportedly positioned on an incline.
The arborists were about 40 feet in the air when the boom lift tilted and fell, killing them.
A man who lives across the street says this is leaving a dark shadow over a wonderful event.
“All I heard was a boom, lift came over, there were two people in it, it came down 35 to 40 feet, it tipped over,” said Steve Spurlock. “Those were people who were supposed to go home tonight, they have families. They had plans for the weekend… We have lives to live. We shouldn’t die, especially at work.”
Deputies along with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are now investigating the incident, trying to determine what exactly went wrong, and if there was some kind of equipment malfunction.
The Medical Examiner’s Office has determined that the two fatalities are likely accidental deaths. Their names will not be released pending family notifications.
Pickathon Music Festival released a statement on Twitter, which read in part, “We are shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic loss of two members of the GuildWorks crew during breakdown of this year's festival. 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.”
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