Alabama Power worker drowns in Coosa River

Published 5:16 pm Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Authorities have recovered the drowning victim of an accident at Alabama

Power’s Mitchell Dam.

Alabama Power announced that Robert Lynn Courtney, 52, a hydro journeyman at

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Mitchell Dam, died Tuesday morning in a tragic accident at the hydro

generating plant near Verbena.

Courtney was a 35-year veteran employee of Alabama Power and had worked at

Mitchell for 20 years. He is survived by his wife Retha, their children and

other family members.

Services for Mr. Courtney will be announced later.

Authorities were called to the scene at 10:22 this morning. Four divers from

the Chilton County Sheriff’s Special Operations Unit found the victim’s body

at 11:43 a.m. today.

Verbena and East Chilton fire departments responded to the scene.

Alabama Power spokesperson Jan Ellis said they have launched a full

investigation into the incident.

“We are aware of an employee fatality at Mitchell Dam, and in deference to

the family please allow us to investigate the incident,” Ellis said. “We are

still trying to determine what happened. Anytime there is a loss in our

Alabama Power family, our employees are devastated. The family of the

employee has been notified and our thoughts and prayers are with them.”

She also said that they will be cooperating with the Occupational Safety and

Health Administration during the investigation.

Mitchell Dam is located on the Coosa River and is on the border of Chilton

and Coosa counties. The dam was not generating electricity at the time of

the incident.