Major power cut hits Spain’s Canary Islands

27th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

Left without power for several hours, Tenerife was in chaos as people were trapped in elevators, traffic jams piled up at intersections, and restaurants and shops were forced to close on Thursday.

MADRID – The entire holiday island of Tenerife, the largest and most populous of Spain's Canary Islands, was left without power for several hours on Thursday, officials said.

The power outage, apparently due to lightening hitting an electricity plant, caused traffic jams at intersections, trapped people in elevators, disrupted radio broadcasts and led restaurants and shops to close their doors in the island of over 830,000 people, local media reported.

Primary and secondary schools closed early and a tramway linking the capital Santa Cruz with La Laguna also stopped functioning, a local government official said.

Air traffic and hospitals, however, operated almost normally thanks to generators, Spanish public radio RNE reported.

The power went out at 12:40 pm local time and was gradually being restored throughout the island, a spokeswoman for national grid operator REE said.

Officials suspect the blackout was caused by lightening striking a power plant in Las Caletillas in the east of the island but this has yet to be confirmed.

The national meteorological office said Tenerife would remain on "yellow" alert, the lowest of its three alert levels which warns weather conditions are not unusual but potentially dangerous, until Friday.

Located in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Morocco, the Canary Islands are a top Spanish tourist destination, receiving millions of visitors each year who are drawn to the archipelago's mild climate and beaches.

AFP / Expatica

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