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Reclamation employee dies after falling at Pinto Dam construction site

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Holger “Hal” Jensen died Wednesday night as a result of injuries sustained from a fall at a construction site at Pinto Dam in Washington, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation.

Jensen was a civil engineer with the construction engineering group in Reclamation’s Pacific Northwest Regional Office in Idaho.

The accident happened on Monday, when Jensen fell about 35 feet onto a concrete surface will conducting an inspection of construction at the dam. The construction was being done to modify the structure to store additional water. Jensen suffered extensive head injuries.

“Our hearts are heavy within the Reclamation family today,” said Commissioner Michael L. Connor. “At this time of sadness and tragedy, we want to extend our deepest respect and sympathy for the Jensen family.”

Reclamation is conducting an official serious accident investigation, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been notified of the accident.

Jensen, age 62, worked as a principal engineer with Perteet Inc. in Washington before moving to Idaho. He worked for Reclamation as a construction inspector from 1972 to 1980. He earned his degree in civil engineering from Washington State University in 1983 and rejoined Reclamation in 2011.

Pinto Dam is an off-stream storage facility completed in 1948 that impounds Billy Clapp Lake and provides irrigation water to the Columbia Basin Project.

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