Unlucky Seagull Hits Oakland Power Lines, Leaves Thousands In The Dark

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Seagull, sea gull

A seagull soars overhead. (Rutgers Univ.)

OAKLAND (CBS SF) – A seagull flew into some power lines in Oakland Thursday morning, briefly knocking out power to about 6,600 PG&E customers, a utility spokeswoman said.

The outage began around 7:15 a.m. when the bird came into contact with two parallel wires at Porter and High streets, near Interstate Highway 580.

“Its wing span was wide enough to make contact with both lines,” PG&E spokeswoman Tamar Sarkissian said.

The bird was killed, the lines came down, and thousands of people nearby lost electricity.

PG&E crews responded and worked to repair the lines, restoring service to all but about 100 customers shortly after 8 a.m., Sarkissian said. The remaining customers got their power back around 12:30 p.m., she said.

To prevent similar incidents in the future, PG&E replaced one of the lines with an insulated wire so any bird touching both wires wouldn’t act as a conduit.

“We certainly want to prevent outages but we also want to prevent harm from coming to any birds or animals,” Sarkissian said.

PG&E urges anyone who sees a downed power line to assume it is live, stay away from it and call 911.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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