Digital Directorship – Cybersecurity: Electrical Grid
New York City sky lights up bright blue after Queens power plant explosion
Police investigating transformer explosion at Con Edison plant in the Astoria neighbourhood
The Guardian: Thu 27 Dec 2018
A huge explosion at a New York power plant has turned the sky above parts of the city a bright blue-green.
Many Manhattanites were stunned when the sky over parts of Queens started to glow a bright neon blue shortly after 9pm on Thursday night.
Scores posted footage of the glowing skyline to social media, saying the sky was “bright as day”. Footage of the scene showed the sky flickering a bright blue-green for several minutes.
The strange sight was caused by an explosion at the Con Edison power plant in Queens, with the New York Police Department officially confirming on Twitter that the cause of the remarkable sight was the explosion and there was “no evidence of extraterrestrial activity”.
“There was a brief electrical fire at our substation in Astoria which involved some electrical transformers and caused a transmission dip in the area. We’re currently investigating the cause of the incident,” Con Edison tweeted.
Police advised people to avoid the area and later confirmed no one had been injured as a result of the incident.
The New York fire department confirmed they had received multiple reports of explosions in the Long Island City and Astoria area, to which they had responded. At 10:15pm they reported the incident was under control and there were no reported injuries and no fire.
Residents left their homes as the black sky turned neon blue, with several telling the Guardian they thought they were witnessing an alien invasion.
Lucas Espinoza, a Queens resident, said: “I was eating dinner in my living room and out of nowhere the lights and TV started flickering and then the whole sky – which was pitch black a moment earlier – lit up with a pulsating greenish blue light. I ran up to my rooftop and grabbed the video while it lasted for a few minutes.”George Delis, who lives down the road from the plant, told the Guardian: “A little while ago, the TV went out and I see this massive bright light. It was so bright I thought it was a UFO. I was so excited I grabbed my phone and saw right down the block at Con Edison, a transformer was on fire. It was so bright, much brighter than the sun … I’ve been living here for 37 years and I’ve never seen this happen before.”
The incident cause several streets to lose power and also caused a blackout at LaGuardia Airport.
The mayor of New York Bill de Blasio confirmed the extraordinary light was “caused by electrical surge at substation”, but said there were no current fire and no injuries. He said the MTA had power, but there were delays on the 7 train and that power was “coming back on” at LaGuardia, but travelers should expect delays. The airport urged people to check their flight status with their carrier, saying “Many flights are departing, some are not”.