A recent power outage in a New Jersey community has been attributed to an unexpected and unlikely perpetrator: a fish dropped by an osprey.
The bizarre incident, which occurred on August 12, left a large area of Lower Sayreville without electricity, prompting an investigation that led to the strange discovery.
Sayreville police, in a series of tongue-in-cheek social media posts, shared the remarkable details behind the power outage.
According to authorities, workers from Jersey Central Power and Light Company, who were addressing the outage, stumbled upon an unsuspecting fish perched on a transformer in the southwest New Jersey community, just southwest of New York’s Staten Island.
The police speculated that a bird, likely an osprey, had accidentally dropped the fish during flight, causing it to land on the transformer and disrupt power.
“We are guessing a bird dropped it as it flew over,” the Sayreville police playfully stated on their Facebook page.
The fish, now affectionately referred to as “Gilligan,” was humorously memorialized as “a hardworking family man” and “a father to thousands” by the police, who took a lighthearted approach to the unusual incident.
Jersey Central Power and Light Company spokesperson Chris Hoenig said that while animals, particularly squirrels, often cause power outages, fish are far from the usual suspects.
In this case, however, the misfortune of the fish led to a temporary disruption of power for approximately 2,100 Sayreville customers, lasting less than two hours.
Hoenig further explained that the presence of ospreys in the area was the likely cause behind this incident.
Indeed, the osprey population in the Sayreville region has been steadily recovering, with the birds no longer on the state’s endangered species list, according to Hoenig.
The power company has since taken active measures to protect ospreys and other raptors by conducting surveys, monitoring nests and relocating nests that pose a threat to their equipment or power lines.
While the circumstances surrounding the incident may be comical, the utility company expressed its gratitude for the patience of affected customers during the outage.
Hoenig also extended a whimsical note of sympathy to the osprey, drawing a relatable parallel with dropping an ice cream cone.
As the investigation unfolds, the spotlight shifts to the osprey, which is believed to have punctured the fish’s scales with its talons before inadvertently dropping it onto the power lines.
The police’s jovial response to the incident included posting a “suspect sketch” of an osprey on Facebook, along with an image of the fish “Gilligan,” playfully surrounded by a “police line do not cross” tape.
The full post by the department is included below.
“Please let us not forget the victim in this senseless death. Gilligan was a hardworking family man. He was a father to thousands of children. The suspect was last seen flying south. If you see him, do not try to apprehend him. Although he isn’t believed to be armed, he may still be very dangerous. If you have any information in this case, please contact Det. John Silver who handles all of our fish cases.”