One Dead, Several Injured as TV Tower Collapses in Fordland

Apr 19, 2018

Collapsed KOZK Tower in Fordland
Credit Megan Burke

One person is dead after a 1,980-foot television transmission tower collapsed Thursday morning in Fordland.

The tower belongs to KOZK, the PBS affiliate station in Springfield, which is under the same management as KSMU Radio.  KSMU does not broadcast from the Fordland tower. 

Logan-Rogersville assistant fire chief, Robert Talburt, said six people were working on the tower at about 105 feet in the air at the time of the collapse.

According to Talburt, three people were transported from the scene to area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.

Emergency workers at the Site of a Collapsed Tower in Fordland
Credit Megan Burke

KOZK, also known as Ozarks Public Television, is owned and operated by Missouri State University.  

“We are shocked and saddened by the news,” said Suzanne Shaw, MSU’s vice-president for marketing and communications, in a statement released by the university Thursday. “Our condolences go out to the victims and their families.  We are also providing support and resources to the other team members affected.”

According to the university’s statement, crews from the state of Washington were performing repairs on the tower at the time of its collapse. 

Talburt said the Webster County Sheriff’s Office is conducting an investigation.  They will have to look through everything at the site and develop a timeline, Talburt said.  “Lots of pieces to the puzzle, I’m sure, to find out what exactly happened here, so it’ll be an ongoing event,” he said.

According to MSU officials, regional stations are helping Ozarks Public Television to restore service in the aftermath of the tragedy.