Police call for information after a metal balloon caused a massive blackout around Dresden in Germany.
Authorities said the “commercial aluminum balloon” caused a short circuit at an electrical substation in the eastern German city on Monday afternoon.
The ensuing power failure affected hospitals, streetcars, factories and around 300,000 households.
Dozens of people were reportedly trapped in elevators for an hour until power was restored.
Claudius Rokosch, spokesperson for utility company SachsenEnergie, said on Tuesday that a charred balloon covered with aluminum was found at the Zschachwitz district substation.
The balloon carried a clear warning not to fly it near electrical wires, Rokosch added in a Press release.
Dresden police confirmed in a statement that they were investigating whether a criminal offense had been committed.
“According to current information, a commercial aluminum balloon triggered the power outage”, declaration read.
“Apparently the balloon had gotten between two live conductors and triggered a short circuit, which then resulted in a power failure.”
Police spokesman Thomas Geithner said investigators currently had no evidence that the balloon was intentionally thrown into the overhead cables.
Geithner added that no one claimed responsibility for the incident, likely ruling out any politically motivated attack.
“We are currently working on the assumption that at best it was negligence, or just a coincidence,” he said. “But neither can we rule out a criminal act 100%.”