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One Ham Killed, Another Seriously Injured in Tower Accident

07/19/2011

As a group of South Dakota hams were dismantling a 110 foot tower outside of Hot Springs on Saturday, July 16, a gust of wind toppled the final section, trapping two local hams underneath. Tim Anderson, K0OR, 54, and Tom Embree, NC0K, were transported to Rapid City Regional Hospital via helicopter, where Anderson died of his injuries. Embree underwent surgery on Sunday and is expected to have more on Wednesday; he remains in serious condition. Both are members of the Hot Springs Amateur Radio Club; Anderson was the club’s president. Hot Springs is located about 57 miles south of Rapid City.

According to Fall River County Emergency Manager Frank Maynard, members of the Hot Springs ARC had taken down all but the final 30 foot section of the tower. As the ground crew was just beginning to release the guy wires, a gust of wind blew the tower over with Anderson and Embree still on it. The tower then collapsed on top of them.

Maynard said that the men were helping the club take down the tower that was no longer in use. The tower’s owner offered the structure to the club and they were planning to move it to a new location.

According to John Embree, his brother Tom -- a Vietnam Veteran who had just retired from a 25 year career in law enforcement -- was new to the area, “After being in Hot Springs for only a month, he was out helping move that radio tower,” John Embree wrote on the Rapid City Journal’s discussion board. “Tom is undergoing surgery Wednesday for his injuries. He had his skull drilled to remove a blood clot there. He has a broken pelvis that they are going to try to pin and glue back together. His jaw was broken badly and they will try to fix that somehow. But he is a tough old guy and with a little help, [he] will recover.”

Anderson and Embree were both ARRL Volunteer Examiners. Anderson, a VE since 1984, was one of the first ARRL Volunteer Examiners after the FCC established the program. Anderson was also the advisor to the Hot Springs School Radio Club.

A memorial service for Anderson will be held at 10 AM on Thursday, July 21 at the Mueller Center Theater in Hot Springs.  -- Thanks to the Rapid City Journal for the information



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