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Eagle causes power outage

Posted: Monday, January 29, 2007

About 10,000 Juneau residents lost power Sunday after a bald eagle lugging a deer head crashed into an Alaska Electric Light & Power transmission system in Lemon Creek.

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"You have to live in Alaska to have this kind of outage scenario," said Gayle Wood, an AEL&P spokeswoman. "This is the story of the overly ambitious eagle who evidently found a deer head in the landfill."

The meal was apparently too heavy. The eagle failed to clear transmission lines as it flew from the landfill toward the Lemon Creek Operation Center, she said. When a repair crew arrived, they found the eagle carcass with the deer head nearby.

The outage started about 9:45 a.m. and affected customers in Salmon Creek, Lemon Creek, the Mendenhall Valley and Out the Road, Wood said. It was completely fixed by 10:28 a.m.

"It was a speedy recovery because a crew was already mobilized, and because a customer managed to hear the explosion," Wood said. "So we were able to narrow it in pretty quickly."

The landfill has a program in place to discourage eagles, ravens and other birds from feeding, she said. But this eagle "got a hold of a little bit more than he could handle."

"This would have been a major score," Wood said. "That eagle would have been the king eagle of the Lemon Creek group."

• Ken Lewis can be reached at ken.lewis@juneauempire.com.



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