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Power Outages Related to Runaway Blimp

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Shortly after people started seeing the NORAD blimp in Columbia and Montour Counties, the power started going out.

At one point, PPL reported tens of thousands of homes and businesses in the dark.

Officials believe the tether from the blimp may have taken down lines, causing the power outages.

PPL' s outage map at one point showed more than 30,000 homes and businesses in the dark, most of them centered in the area the blimp passed.

The blimp came down Wednesday afternoon in Montour County.

"I couldn't believe it. I turned on the scanner and heard it was a blimp dragging a cable that caused all this damage and I thought, ‘Wow, this is crazy.’"

Jim Hufford and his wife were at home in North Centre Township near Bloomsburg, when it happened Wednesday afternoon.

A military blimp passed overhead, dragging a long tether, which ripped through the tops of trees on their property and then power lines, too.

"I see a cable stretching all the way down here and through the woods. I couldn't even see the end of it and then the top of the tree started shaking and then as it hit those power lines, it started arcing and sparking,” said Hufford.

PPL reported thousands without power because of the damage from the tether.
With no working traffic signals, police had to direct traffic at some intersections.

"I heard a loud explosion like lightning go off and then just a loud crack and it was unreal. And it was not even a few seconds later, there was another loud crack and a red flash. Here there was a piece of the tether all wrapped in high voltage power lines down here. At least I'd say 100 feet of it all tangled up in the lines and that,” said Scott Dusjak of South Centre Township.

Without power, a nearby gas station and other businesses were closed. Some people without power to their homes had to use generators.

Jack Baker is from Idaho and happens to be a pilot. He was staying at an inn in South Centre Township when the blimp came through.

"I’ve always been fascinated by blimps. I got within half a mile flying by one once and you know, they move a lot faster in the air by their own power than you might expect,” Baker said.