Metal foil balloon flew into electrical substation in Dresden, short-circuiting the city's electrical supply

Sounds like a job for Inspector Clouseau. German police detectives are hunting for the person who let a mylar balloon loose that caused a massive blackout in and around the eastern city of Dresden, the Associated Press reported.

Authorities said the metal foil balloon, of the kind often flown at children’s birthday parties, caused a short-circuit at an electricity substation in Dresden shortly after 2 p.m. Monday, setting off a power outage that affected hospitals, trams, factories and about 300,000 households. Dozens of people were trapped in elevators until electricity was restored about an hour later.

Claudius Rokosch, a spokesman for utility company SachsenEnergie, said Tuesday that the charred, aluminum-covered balloon found at the substation featured a clear warning not to fly it near electrical wires. Thomas Geithner, a spokesman for Dresden police, said investigators don’t currently have any evidence that the balloon was directed into the overhead cables intentionally.

“We are currently working on the assumption that at best it was careless, or simply a coincidence,” he said, adding that the lack of a claim of responsibility also indicated it wasn’t a politically motivated attack. There was no word on how many six-year old children the police have so far interrogated.

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