A Final Farewell
October 29, 2013
A crew of four is conducting routine maintenance at the Piet de Wit wind farm near Ooltgensplaat in the Netherlands. While working atop the 67 meter (220 ft) Vestas turbine a fire erupts and quickly engulfs the gondola, blocking the stairs in the shaft and trapping two maintenance workers, ages 19 and 21. As they find themselves cornered against the inevitable, this moving photo is taken, thought by many to be the last of the men alive, of what looks to be a farewell hug.
The cause of the fire would be debated, but the resulting tragedy was definite: one mechanic fell to his death and was found in a field near the turbine, while a specially-trained firefighter team found the other body still inside the smoldering remains of the gondola. The tragedy led to an inquiry regarding safety precautions for wind turbine maintenance crews.