Two elderly people died in Amsterdam power outage

Power outage in Amsterdam, 17 Jan 2017
Power outage in Amsterdam, 17 Jan 2017Photo: @Irchell / Twitter

A massive power outage in Amsterdam and surrounds on Tuesday morning may have cost the lives of two elderly Amsterdam residents, the municipality said. One may have died because the emergency line could not be reached and the other because her oxygen supply cut out when the power went out, the Telegraaf reports.

On Tuesday morning there were dozens of calls to emergency line 112, sometimes for absurd reasons.  "Someone reported that his iPad couldn't be charged", police spokesperson Frans Zuiderhoek said to Eindhovens Dagblad on Tuesday afternoon. Due to this extreme influx in calls, nine calls for an ambulance were put on hold until it was quieter.

The son of an 83-year-old woman was one of those who could not get an ambulance. He called the GP after being unable to reach the ambulance service. The doctor rushed to respond, but when he arrived the elderly woman was already dead.

A second woman died later on Tuesday morning. "It is suspected that the death is due to the failure of the oxygen supply on which the person was dependent." a spokesperson for the municipality said to the Telegraaf."All involved parties will soon evaluate the power outage of this morning."

The power went out in Amsterdam and surrounds around 4:20 a.m. on Tuesday, affecting some 360 thousand homes and other customers. By 9:00 a.m. power was restored to everyone. The outage caused havoc with public transit, especially the train services which were delayed across the country for the entire day. 

The cause of the outage was a component failure at a TenneT power distribution station on Hemweg in Amsterdam. Though what caused this failure is still unknown. People who were without power for more than four hours are entitled to compensation from utilities company Liander.