News Release Archive

Reclamation Employee Fatally Injured Following Fall at Pinto Dam in Eastern Washington

Media Contact: John Redding, (208) 383-2207

For Release: December 26, 2013

SPOKANE, Wash. – A Bureau of Reclamation employee died Wednesday night as a result of injuries sustained from a fall on Monday at a construction site at Pinto Dam located about 18 miles east of Ephrata, Wash.

Holger "Hal" Jensen, 62, passed away with family gathered by his bedside at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Wash. He was a civil engineer with the construction engineering group in Reclamation’s Pacific Northwest Regional Office in Boise, Idaho.

"This is simply heartbreaking," said Lorri Lee, Pacific Northwest Regional Director. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to Hal’s family as they face such sadness especially at this time of year." Jensen suffered extensive head injuries after falling about 35 feet onto a concrete surface while conducting an inspection of construction at Pinto Dam. Construction was being done at the site modifying the structure to store additional water.

"Our hearts are heavy within the Reclamation family today," said Reclamation 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. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was notified of the accident.

Jensen once resided in Everett, Wash, where he worked as a principal engineer at Perteet, Inc. before moving to Idaho. He worked for Reclamation as a construction inspector from 1972-80. He earned his degree in Civil Engineering (Cum Laude) in 1983 from Washington State University. He later became a Professional Engineer licensed in the State of Washington. He joined Reclamation again full time in 2011.

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

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