Sailboat crash cuts power across much of Florida Keys



On April 12, 2021, a sailboat struck a transmission line about half a mile north of the Seven Mile Bridge, causing a power outage for Keys Energy Services’ 30,000 customers in the Lower Keys.

Key Energy services

A sailboat stuck in transmission lines off the Florida Keys on Monday morning cut power to the lower half of the island chain.

The ship struck power lines shortly before 9:30 a.m., about half a mile north of the Seven Mile Bridge, said Julio Torrado, spokesperson for Keys Energy Services, the utility that provides electricity to Big customers. Pine Key in Key West.

Torrado said about 30,000 customers lost their electricity. The utility said on its Facebook page that the boat would have to be pulled from transmission lines before power could be restored.

A transmission line failure is currently affecting all KEYS customers. The teams are busy restoring power. Please see the comments section for further updates.

posted by Key Energy services to Monday, April 12, 2021

At around 10:30 a.m., the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office issued an alert that the City of Marathon Fire Department was removing the people from the sailboat. It was not immediately clear if anyone had been injured.

At around 11 a.m., some customers started feeding again, Torrado said.

“We have since turned on the transmission line and are switching the transmit power,” he said at around 11:50 am. “Every affected customer should have electricity now with a few exceptions.”

The sailboat, which the coast guard said was 32 feet long, was no longer in the transmission lines but remained in the area, Torrado said.

“I was told they had secured the sailboat to the side of the deck until it was determined how it can be removed,” he said. “It’s kind of locked. They can’t really tow it anywhere without it hitting the lines again.”

The Florida Keys Electric Cooperative, which serves approximately 33,000 homes and businesses from the Monroe County line to the north end of the Seven Mile Bridge, has not experienced outages, said Nikki Dunn Cullen, spokesperson for the service. public.

Between the rescue operation and utility workers inspecting lines parallel to the Seven Mile Bridge, traffic suffered severe delays Monday near and along the iconic span.

A similar incident involving a sailing ship hitting transmission lines next to the Seven Mile Bridge occurred in October 2018, cutting off power to around 30,000 homes.

Video of the previous incident in 2018:

This story was originally published April 12, 2021 10:48 a.m.

David Goodhue covers the Florida Keys and South Florida for and the Miami Herald. Prior to joining the Herald, he covered Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Energy in Washington, DC. He graduated from the University of Delaware.

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