Million-dollar drill rig topples

NEAR LORANE, Ore. - A drilling rig worth over $1.5 million toppled over Monday morning at an ODOT construction site that is building a new bridge over the south fork of the Siuslaw River near Lorane.

The operator was moving the drilling rig down an embarkment when it fell over.

The driver - and the other construction workers on site - were not injured.

"As he went back down to the platform to the second shaft, for some reason he started skidding and once he started skidding, he lost control and it slipped over on its side," said ODOT spokesperson Rick Little.

Little said they are investigating why it happened, but it could have been several different reasons. "We don't know if it's soft soil, we don't know if it was a weight distribution issue, which may have been an operator error," said Little.

When the rig fell over, it knocked out a power line and a nearby traffic signal went out.

Little said he's grateful nobody was hurt in the accident. "We can replace the power lines torn down, we can repair the equipment if it's damaged, but we can't replace human life," he said.

According to Little, the construction zone may be stalled for up to one week as the contractor figures out how to remove the drilling rig. The bridge project is expected to be fully finished by next year.