Tragic Windfarm Death – Unanswered Questions

Ardrossan wind farm (not Afton Wind Farm) in North Ayrshire, Scotland Credit:

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t ptolemy2 – According to BBC News, the family of 74yr old security guard Ronnie Alexander are looking for answers as to how he died of exposure while guarding the Afton wind farm during severe weather.

Family want answers over death in snow on wind farm

7 March 2018

The family of a security guard who died after becoming trapped in heavy snow on a remote wind farm are demanding answers about his death.

Ronnie Alexander, 74, was working at Afton wind farm in Ayrshire when he became stranded in severe weather.

His daughter, Tracy Fraser, has been told he may have lain in deep snow for up to seven hours before he was found.

She said the death of her “lovely, hard-working” father during bad weather in January had devastated the family.

When the family arrived at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, they were given the devastating news that Mr Alexander was unlikely to survive.

“When we got up there my dad was in intensive care and they said he had a 5% chance of living but they would try everything to help him,” Ms Fraser said. “And they really did.”

Mr Alexander, who lived in Kilmarnock, died later that morning.

“It’s just horrible, it should never have happened,” said Ms Fraser.

“There was nothing else wrong with him. Once they’d done the post-mortem, they said he’d died of hypothermia – that’s it.”

Read more:

Britain has suffered thefts from wind farms in the past. The main target of thieves appears to be copper metal and any stray construction or computer equipment. Theft from worksites in Britain is a serious issue; I once had to visit a British worksite after hours, the guard dog was going mental, chasing off intruders every five minutes.

It does seem worrying that Mr. Alexander was not able to summon help when things went wrong. Possibly he wasn’t aware of the danger he was in, when the generator failed, until he became disoriented with cold.

My question – was Mr. Alexander carrying a PLB, a personal locator beacon, when he got into difficulties?

PLBs cost around two hundred dollars, but they can save your life. When activated by flipping open the antenna, a signal is sent via satellite directly to Emergency services, pinpointing the location of the person in distress.

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March 8, 2018 12:08 am

I’ll keep a silent moment.

Robert from oz
March 8, 2018 12:10 am

We have a PLB because of remote touring here in OZ and yes they are cheap nowadays so sounds like some splaining to do from the windfarm people and a lawsuit from the relatives .

Phillip Bratby
March 8, 2018 1:06 am

It’s not obvious how one man can guard a wind farm consisting of 27 wind turbines arrayed for several miles across a Scottish hill.
May he rest in peace, a peace which he wouldn’t have got when working because of all the dreadful and harmful noise that wind turbines make.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
March 8, 2018 6:23 am

And all the while unarmed.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
March 8, 2018 12:17 pm

completely non sequitur.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
March 9, 2018 8:03 am

Just as our police are unarmed – because the thieves are also unarmed. It does work, you know, except in exceptional circumstances.

Bill Powers
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
March 8, 2018 11:52 am

Not to mention what a dreadful eyesore they are. Quite possibly Mr Alexander died from a broken heart over the despoiled landscape of his otherwise beautiful homeland.

March 8, 2018 1:13 am

Very sad.
I find myself wondering why there is so much thieving going on in the UK these days. Is there a pattern? If there is, will it be owned up to by the powers-that-be?

Reply to  Annie
March 8, 2018 1:14 am

There was so much more honesty when I lived there as a child and young adult.

Leonard Lane
Reply to  Annie
March 8, 2018 11:33 am

Thanks Annie. Me too. We would ride our bikes to school, park them in a rack, lean them against the building, or just park them with the kickstand. In summer my folks would leave the car & truck windows down to keep them cooler. Most of our neighbors did that too. My bike, nor my parents car or pickup truck, was never stolen. Now all cars and other vehicles are locked with the windows up to lower (not prevent) the theft rates.

David Cage
Reply to  Annie
March 9, 2018 2:47 am

The police were concerned about theft then not saying the wrong thing to diddums girlies twenty years ago. or spending a million on new identities for murderers or rapists who might suffer reprisals from those who feel they got off far far too lightly.

Tim Groves
Reply to  Annie
March 13, 2018 4:51 pm

“Diddums girlies”?
That sounds like it could be a racist, sexist, ageist and ableist expression with undertones that no true SJW wouldn’t come up with plenty of reasons to find offensive.

Scouser in AZ
Reply to  Annie
March 17, 2018 10:09 am

Not really.
One of my first student jobs in 1965 was for Securicor guarding building sites. They gave me a tame dog (usually..:^)…) to scare away kids. The local youth just went and stole from the other building sites that didn’t have a overnight guard.

Phillip Bratby
Reply to  Annie
March 8, 2018 1:22 am

It would not be politically correct to answer your question. It’s not just thieving; there is much more of all types of crime. Everybody knows, but the MSM and politicians don’t mention it.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Annie
March 8, 2018 2:20 am

A lot of it is done by ‘travellers’. Itinerant mobile home dwellers who park up and act as if they were still hunter-gatherers – well they are.
We tried to send em back to Ireland, but the Irish dont want them and have laws against them; The EU gives grants so that they can get places to stay that totally override planning and common law. They are apparently ENTITLED to this anti-social lifestyle as an ethnic right.
Just one of the things we MAY be able to stop post brexit.
Of course now the Romani – Romanian based hunter gatherer tribes are also coming in droves. They harvest supermarkets, filling baskets and walking out without paying. No one stops them

Reply to  Leo Smith
March 8, 2018 9:28 am

Our local hospital is plagued by travellers. When one is ill, they descend on the place and don’t bother paying for parking, they just dump their cars in the Ambulance bays. Ticketing them is not an option, they won’t be around for long. Confronting them is a recipe for damage to other vehicles and all the CCTV cameras’ in the world wont identify them as they exist without official records, HMRC, employment, education, vehicle etc. and they don’t care about criminal records as they just move to another site somewhere in the country, under another name.
I was a Copper in Glasgow in the 70’s and 80’s and they are a nightmare once out in the community.

Reply to  Leo Smith
March 8, 2018 3:37 pm

I worked for a few months as a security guard in the UK. My first job was to guard a derelict property from a large group of travellers and prevent them from occupying the disused car park. We were outnumbered – two of us plus one dog, against thirty or so of them and 10+ canines. (Our security guard dogs 🐕 were rejects from military dog training programs – I got a nice big bite on my first night.) However our dog and theirs got on well with eachother, and following this canine diplomacy, so did we. We informally agreed a boundary. We ended up just chatting around open fires a lot if the time – they were generously hospitable and offered us food and drink. They kind of took pity on us – we lived like bums while they inhabited palacial caravans and were clearly making a lot of money somewhere (road building). One day we were in a nearby pub together when our company manager showed up for a site inspection. My colleague and I had by this time consumed a lot of alcohol – all paid for by the travellers. As our boss made his entrance we were in a disheveled and alcohol-impaired state. However he was relaxed about the situation and saw that we were doing our jobs – keeping the peace. He sat down with us and joined in.

David Cage
Reply to  Leo Smith
March 9, 2018 2:48 am

No place in prisons too full up with BBC licence non payers.

Reply to  Annie
March 8, 2018 5:33 am

Annie, part of the problem in the UK is the almost universal prohibition, even criminalization, of any sort of self defense – let alone effective defense against theft or destruction of property. I highly suspect that even “security guards” in general are not armed, and have no real recourse if attacked. So, the criminals are never faced with any resistance and have every incentive to continue in criminal actions.

Reply to  MamaLiberty
March 8, 2018 6:40 am

When I lived in the UK, the company I worked for had to hire security guards because there were so many break-ins that the insurance company wouldn’t cover them any more otherwise. But all the guards were supposed to do if there was a break-in was to call the police, and the crooks would be out of there within five minutes dragging a swag bag of computers behind them.
Pretty much pure security theatre. As proven by the crooks breaking in one night while the guards were there.

Reply to  MamaLiberty
March 8, 2018 6:53 am

When you have been taught since grade school that those who have more than you do, didn’t earn it, and that you are entitled to have government seize that money and give it to you.
Is it any surprise that certain enterprising youths will decide to cut out the middleman and just go take what they want?

Reply to  MamaLiberty
March 8, 2018 12:47 pm

I worked one summer as a security guard on the midnight shift. We were unarmed and were told that if confronted by a potentially violent person, to run away.

Derek Colman
Reply to  MamaLiberty
March 8, 2018 5:15 pm

You have no evidence to back up your assertion. In the USA self defence is prolific. Everyone and his dog has a gun to protect themselves, yet the crime rates in every type of crime are much higher than the UK. If your argument was correct the USA should be almost crime free. Moreover the victims of crime in the USA are many times more likely to be shot dead. That is because criminals carry guns to protect themselves against armed victims of their crimes. You are correct that security guards are not armed, that would be illegal. Also criminals are rarely armed because they are not in mortal danger while committing a crime. The worst they are likely to get from a cop is a pepper spray or a taser.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Annie
March 8, 2018 10:12 am

Copper theft is a plague in the US as well. It doesn’t usually make the news unless one of the oafs becomes a Darwin Award nominee.

Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
March 8, 2018 12:20 pm

A few years ago in Detroit, a Darwin Award winner thought it was a good idea to climb up to a high-voltage transformer and steal the copper. He’s no longer with us. Given the police and other service shortages, there was talk of leaving him there (winter. cold. frozen.) as a reminder to not do that.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
March 8, 2018 1:46 pm

Hmmmm, sort of the modern day equivalent of the gibbet.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Annie
March 8, 2018 3:12 pm

“Annie March 8, 2018 at 1:13 am”
Stealing is nothing new in the UK, been happening for hundreds of years. Lead/copper roofing from churches for example. It is a sad state of affairs in the UK with so much pilfering for such a “rich” country. Sadly, most people are not “rich” and struggle to put meals on tables. When I was young in the UK, my family were “poor”, but we managed. These days however, if you don’t have a colour TV and Wi-Fi internet access you are considered “poor”.

David Cage
Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 9, 2018 2:50 am

You forgot the most important essential which is the latest iPhone not just any old smartphone.

Reply to  Annie
March 9, 2018 8:13 am

>>Why so much thieving…?
It is mainly due to opening up the UK to Eastern Europeans. In the USSR, communism developed a slack mentality of petty theft. Nobody owned anything under communism, and by the same reversed logic therefore everyone owns everything. (The saying was: “It belongs to the people, and I am one of the people, so it belongs to me….” ).
Thus petty theft was rife in the USSR, and all public items had to be welded in place, or it disappeared. Even all the manhole covers and lamppost and junction box doors all disappeared. (Which made driving and walking very hazardous. If you saw a wooden stick in the snow, you had to give it a wide berth, as it probably marked a 10m deep hole.)
When the UK was opened up to Eastern European immigration, suddenly all our manhole covers and copper wires were disappearing. They even went to villages and would semi-professionally reel in a kilometer of copper wire, while dressed as engineers. The police have begun to get a grip on this by greater oversight of scra, metal merchants, but it is still a problem that goes unacknowledged by politicians and the media.

Carbon Bigfoot
Reply to  Annie
March 9, 2018 8:18 am

Theft is the only way they can raise money to pay their outrageous electrical and energy bills. All created by the GREEN BLOB in the UK Parliament.

March 8, 2018 1:26 am

People might like to look at this forum:
Despite its name , originating from a group established to protect part of Scotland’s landscape, it has global statistics of windfarm casualties (up to Dec 2017) and the life diminishing effects of these installations (eg suicidal tendencies of residents close to wind turbines).
An illuminating but depressing list – totally ignored of course by the media and politicians.

Phillip Bratby
Reply to  mikewaite
March 8, 2018 1:34 am

Those are statistics that the Government and MSM such as the BBC keep from the public. You would think from the BBC that the wind industry was the safest industry ever, rather than one of the worst. Together with that other renewable energy source, hydropower, it is now the most dangerous generator of electricity. The BBC would have you believe that nuclear power is far more dangerous.

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
March 8, 2018 7:28 am

You consider hydropower generation “deadly”? Does that count the “recreational” deaths in the lakes behind dams after they complete, and then are available to the (drunk and boating and swimming) public for dozens (if not hundreds) of years?

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
March 8, 2018 12:29 pm

Most if not all of these fatalities occurred during maintenance by untrained and/or unsafe operators.
Some occurred during construction.
Are fatalities incurred during nuclear plant construction also tallied in this manner against nuclear? How about hydro? Over 100 people died during construction of the Hoover Dam alone.
We ought to be more unbiased.

Solomon Green
Reply to  mikewaite
March 8, 2018 5:51 am

Thanks for the link. How do wind turbine deaths compare with nuclear power station deaths? My guess and it is only a guess is even including Chernobil has killed more humans.

Ed Zuiderwijk
March 8, 2018 2:08 am

That’s truly tragic. Dying of hypothermia while guarding the source of copious free energy that should keep us warm.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
March 8, 2018 3:56 am

The energy from a wind farm is neither copious or free, and it can only warm those rich enough to afford the high costs.

Reply to  BillP
March 8, 2018 1:52 pm

In Ontario right now we have a candidate for the next election saying she’s going to ‘rip them(the turbines0 out of the ground’!

March 8, 2018 2:26 am

Re. ‘Mr. Alexander was not able to summon help when things went wrong’
Mobile phone reception can be patchy at best in this part of Scotland, due to the hilly terrain.

Peta of Newark
March 8, 2018 3:40 am

It was/is a construction site. Windfarm, hence= remote by definition.
Lots of good stuff for villains to lift, esp plant and because Government spends a lot of money buying ‘plant’ – such stuff is gobsmackingly expensive. (Governments have soooooo much money they don’t what to do with it)
Hence the requirement for security guards.
You do see a nice positive feedback in the costs department there? But of course Governments run on borrowed money (Gilt Edged Securities in the UK) and need inflation to devalue the money when they have to pay back those loans in 10, 15 or 20+ years time.
But its OK, we keep hearing around here just how rich rich rich we all are these days. We can afford it.
The villains also – really rich, because everybody is. We just told ourselves so it must be true.
They just do it ‘for the kicks’ right?
If possible sometime, keep alert to the possibility, take a moment to ‘interview’ a police-person. Informal and off-the-record.
You will learn that being a police-person is actually a very easy job.
Because you’ll be told that: there is ‘something’ about your average villain.
They are all quite quite thick. Dumb. Stupid.
They virtually catch themselves and all the coppers have to do is close the cell doors behind them as they queue-up to get into jail.
From actual experience of my 28 year old nephew growing weed in his late grandmother’s house – they simply do not recognise right from wrong.
Also the disappearance of my (semi-retired) car batteries from my garden, in broad daylight just days ago.
I know exactly who did it. He’d previously volunteered to climb, carrying an electric chainsaw and without a ladder, into a very tall tree in my garden fro the purpose of cutting the top off it.
Suicidal madness to the rest of us yet an everyday thing for him.
If that’s not Kwashkior at work, I’m the King of England.
Malthus said nothing about that did he, but how could he have possibly foreseen it?
Another symptom of starvation is laziness and buck-passing – as written all over this story.
But, there was 2 blokes guarding that construction site:
From the BBC:

Ms Fraser said she has been told he was discovered lying in deep snow, up a steep hill about a mile from the security cabin.
He was airlifted off the site with a younger colleague. Police said at the time that both had been stranded without heat or power. It is understood that a generator failed.

What was the other guy doing all this time?
Where were the replacement shift workers?
Just one generator? On a construction site miles from anywhere. What were those guys supposedly guarding?
Am I going mad here?
And I’m sorry but, Ms Fraser is more fake than a fake thing. In a more normal society, where people have babies, those babies are there in order to (and they know it) look after their parents. Yes Ms Fraser – looking at you.
No matter, being rich and having Bitcoins will do that instead. We keep telling ourselves – it MUST be true.
So many things wrong with this story, even before we get into the right/wrongs of windmills

March 8, 2018 3:53 am

I see this mostly as evidence of how much we need some global warming.
If only CO2 actually did what the alarmists claim we could could save thousands of lives a year in the UK alone.

Reply to  BillP
March 8, 2018 4:46 am

Well said Bill.
Excess Winter Mortality Rates in Britain are MUCH HIGHER than in Canada or the USA, which causes me concern, and should be a matter of great concern for your government.
Global warming alarmism has greatly increased energy costs in the UK, and this has contributed significantly to Excess Winter Deaths, which especially target the elderly and the poor. “Heat or Eat” is the term commonly used there, Excess Winter Deaths typically total 30,000 to 50,000 per year in the UK, vs 5000 to 10,000 in Canada, which has more than half Britain’s population.
Best, Allan

Alan the Brit
March 8, 2018 4:28 am

I do hope people realise that we are living in the Holocene Inter-glacial, it’s not as warm as the previous 4 inter-glacials dating back 500,000 years, but we’re getting there hopefully!

March 8, 2018 4:36 am

74yr old security guard
guarding the Afton wind farm
Something I would certainly never consider; whatever the weather.

Nigel S
March 8, 2018 4:54 am

This is some local cable theft (and nominative determinism too). The railway bridge was out of action a while back after an attempt to steal live cables to the lifting motors!

Chris D.
March 8, 2018 5:10 am

I’m sad for the family’s loss.
I didn’t realize these things are such thief magnets. I suppose calculating the carbon cost of wind farms should include all the petrol burned conveying these thieves to and fro “every five minutes”.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Chris D.
March 8, 2018 5:59 am

me neither, I would have thought the only thing a windmill would attract is a 50 cal…

March 8, 2018 6:02 am

When I was working for a major utility there were incidences of people cutting away steel & aluminum struts from major transmission towers for scrap value.

March 8, 2018 6:43 am

Is propane heat banned in the UK?

Reply to  ResourceGuy
March 8, 2018 7:05 am

They did have a generator providing heat and power, but it failed. The cause of failure and why there was no backup both need to be investigated.
Other issues:
Somebody else was at the wind farm, did he not notice what was happening to Ronnie Alexander?
Why was Ronnie Alexander a mile from the security hut when he was found?
Did they have any means of communication?

March 8, 2018 6:50 am

I’m not going to blame this on wind farms in general, rather I’ll blame it on a societal problem where youths feel entitled to take whatever they want, regardless of who it belongs to.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  MarkW
March 8, 2018 3:18 pm

In the UK, you’d be surprised, theft is not limited to youth.

March 8, 2018 7:17 am

European style socialism is well described in the responses to this post. Big city US citizens need to read these comments and understand that this is where we are headed in our country if their progressive politicians have their way.

Reply to  JimG1
March 8, 2018 11:35 am

At least the US can prevent sliding into the mire and becoming a S***hole country like the UK.

March 8, 2018 8:15 am

They don’t have cell phones there?

Reply to  ossqss
March 8, 2018 9:33 am

Try getting a signal up there. No chance. I know the area well.
And whilst these things are supposed to be so damned environmentally friendly, why does the area surrounding them look like scorched earth, whilst neighbouring areas are pristine green and cultivated?,-4.8285405,4986m/data=!3m1!1e3

Reply to  HotScot
March 8, 2018 5:46 pm

I can understand that. My ultimate point is in todays world, how does this happen? I will bet those wind turbines communicate to a central monitoring station every second, but the security for that wind farm has no means of calling for help if needed? Surely, that shouldn’t happen.

March 8, 2018 8:33 am

Wind farm for producing electricity needs a generator on site. The irony is delicious even though the event is very sad.

Reply to  ristvan
March 8, 2018 8:45 am

Reminds me of the generators they had at Fukishima, ironic because the nuclear power plant generates electricity right?

Reply to  ristvan
March 8, 2018 11:27 am

To be fair, it is wind farm under construction.

March 8, 2018 9:11 am

With all due respect, this doesn’t seem like an international news story.

March 8, 2018 9:21 am

Let me just say that this photo represents a disgusting insult to the beautiful landscape … the beautiful environment. No, not the beautiful little village tucked low on the hillside … but those massively UGLY white contraptions ruining the ridgeline. Where is the Scottish PRIDE? Is this what William Wallace died for? My mother had Scottish Heritage … and she is spinning in her grave.

Reply to  kenji
March 8, 2018 9:49 am

Imagine how I feel. That’s my coastline and Ardrossan a frequent haunt in my youth.
I now Live on the outskirts of London, and there is barely a wind turbine in sight, and certainly non even approaching the size of those monstrosities.
Yet where is all the electricity used, whilst these things blight the countryside? Yep, the cities.
London doesn’t have a single, meaningful, functioning power station, coal, nuclear, gas or otherwise. It has no wind turbines, nor solar arrays, and the countries air quality is judged by London’s central heating and trendy log burning stoves. Yet diesel cars are blamed for the supposedly harmful air quality and rural businesses and workers are being punished by London standards by diesel being vilified.
Power stations with all their ‘harmful’ emissions, and renewables with their horizon polluting solar arrays and turbines are farmed out to semi rural, and rural areas. Meanwhile, the worst Londoners endure is the London Eye, a tourist attraction Ferris wheel.
NIMBY’s, and they continue to bitch. It seems like California in miniature!

Reply to  HotScot
March 8, 2018 12:48 pm

Thank God there is a Scot alive who is OFFENDED by such a blight. I am so sorry this has happened to your childhood haunts. But you are so correct about NINBYism (as I AM a Californian). And we are just now STARTING to experience the COST of Nimbyism … runaway housing costs. There isn’t a single community in the SF Bay Area that doesn’t enact massively restrictive and $$ punitive barriers to building new housing … INFILL housing … on already URBANIZED lands. So they push housing further and further from the city center … out onto CHEAP yet unblemished lands. The golden goose of CA has been squeezed into foie gras for the wealthy elites.

March 8, 2018 9:25 am

There has been two other deaths at that wind farm according to this blog.
In other news: The latest Europol report follows on the heels of an earlier one, the “Serious & Organized Crime Threat Assessment 2013″, which similarly found that organized crime is involved in, and in some instances controls, renewable energy financings and project developments for the purposes of laundering proceeds of crime.

Reply to  ES
March 8, 2018 9:57 am

One of the problems is, the UK’s much lauded Health and Safety Executive is a toothless wonder. Businesses trample all over it. I damn well know, I work in an utterly disgusting environment with blatantly ignored H&S violations. But operational demands ensure that as National Health Service (NHS) contractors, we are outsourced, cheap, and expendable labour.
Your hair would curl at the risks we run caring for people.

Steve C
Reply to  HotScot
March 8, 2018 11:08 pm

HotScot, my hair is already well curled, most recently from reading this. And with critters like The Wretched Branson moving in to feast on the still-twitching remains of the NHS, it’s unlikely to get better any time soon.
FWIW, all of you at the blunt end have the very greatest respect from the rest of us.

Reply to  Steve C
March 9, 2018 9:22 am

Steve C,
Thank you for your support. It’s much appreciated.

Reply to  ES
March 8, 2018 8:12 pm

ES wrote:
The latest Europol report follows on the heels of an earlier one, the “Serious & Organized Crime Threat Assessment 2013″, which similarly found that organized crime is involved in, and in some instances controls, renewable energy financings and project developments for the purposes of laundering proceeds of crime.””
Cut to the chase gentlemen:
Renewable energy costs a fortune and provides nothing.
“Renewable energy IS organized crime!”

March 9, 2018 7:19 pm


March 8, 2018 9:53 am

Perhaps their policy needs a tweak, when humans cannot survive the weather event, the likelihood of thieves out there at that time is pretty low. Sounds more like he had a cardiac event.

March 8, 2018 12:05 pm

When is there not severe weather in Kilmarnock?

March 8, 2018 1:14 pm

Another number to add to the statistics on people killed by “Safe” wind power. Which exceeded Nuclear Power long ago.

Reply to  usurbrain
March 8, 2018 1:34 pm

He was killed due to exposure at his workplace.
Gainfully EMPLOYED at age 74 — perhaps he suffered from a transient ischemic attack (mini stroke) which caused him to wander away from shelter.
It is very likely at that age.
To blame this on wind power is ridiculous and asinine.

Reply to  usurbrain
March 8, 2018 1:43 pm

Lake Kyzyltash and Lake Karachay (in 1990 where the plants discharged into Karachay, the radiation was 6 Sieverts an hour — death in an hour.
Wind doesn’t come close when you just count those disasters

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