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German police weather balloon that caused mass blackout


German police investigate the source of a balloon that caused a massive blackout in and around the eastern city of Dresden

BERLIN – German police are investigating the source of a balloon that caused a massive blackout in and around the eastern city of Dresden.

Authorities said the foil balloon caused a short circuit at an electrical substation in Dresden shortly after 2 p.m. on Monday, causing a power outage that affected hospitals, trams, factories and around 300,000 households. Dozens of people were trapped in the elevators until they turned on electricity about an hour later.

Claudius Rokosch, spokesperson for utility company SachsenEnergie, said on Tuesday that the charred aluminum-covered balloon found at the substation had a clear warning not to fly it near electrical wires.

Thomas Geithner, spokesman for the Dresden police, said investigators currently had no evidence that the balloon was intentionally aimed at overhead cables.

“We are currently working on the assumption that this was negligence at best, or just coincidence,” he said, adding that the lack of a liability claim also indicated that he it was not a politically motivated attack.

“But neither can we rule it out 100%,” Geithner said.

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ABC News

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