LONDON (AFP) — Speculation over what caused the mysterious destruction of a giant wind turbine in northern England - with everything from UFOs to the freezing winter weather taking the blame - was put to rest, after the culprit was found to be a mundane broken bolt.
Residents of Conisholme in Lincolnshire, last month, discovered that a 21.9-metre long metal blade was torn off a turbine at their local wind farm while another was badly damaged.
Some even reported seeing strange lights streaking towards the wind farm, prompting conjecture of a UFO collision with one of the 213-foot tall turbines.
It was unclear exactly when the crash would have occurred.
Local councillor and turkey farmer Robert Palmer said he saw a bright white light with an orange edge as he drove close to the turbine on Sunday morning .
The turbine manufacturer Enercon, however published preliminary results of its investigation on Tuesday saying that a broken bolt was responsible for the mishap.
The firm said that the bolts securing the blade to the turbine's hub "exhibited classic signs of fatigue failure".
It added that though the bolts themselves had shown no flaws, it appears that a component part on either side had "induced stress in the bolts beyond their design limits".
The Guardian newspaper on its part claimed to have solved a part of the mystery, revealing that the "strange lights" had almost certainly been caused by a firework display hosted by the parents of Emily Bell, the paper's director of digital content,.
Dale Vince, Ecotricity's managing director, had earlier told the BBC that the UFO theory was "the best ... that we have currently got", though he added that a cow-sized piece of ice, perhaps falling from a passing plane, can also be responsible.
Vince now admitted that the Enercon report, was "a bit disappointing", though he defended his stand to consider the possibility of alien involvement.
"Personally I believe in life from other galaxies, and a lot of people do. I can say, however, at this stage we have eliminated collision and therefore aliens," he said.
Despite the revelation Vince is not quite ready to accept that the mystery was definitively solved.
"I still don't think the firework display explains the flashing lights ... they don't tend to hang around in the way these lights are said to have done. There was no scorching, nothing burned or melted, so the lights, whatever they were, were certainly not associated with the turbine failure," he added.
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