Atlanta Blackout and Amtrak Derailment Spark Fears

Tuesday, December 19, 2017
By Paul Martin

Consecutive catastrophes expose America’s vulnerabilities

By Dan Lyman
Tuesday, December 19, 2017

In less than 24 hours, two major infrastructure crises unfolded in the United States, as Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport was crippled by a major blackout and an Amtrak train derailed in Washington state, killing three and injuring dozens more.

The back-to-back incidents have raised many red flags on the issues of failing infrastructure, terrorism, and the vulnerability of modern civilization.

On Sunday afternoon, the world’s busiest airport descended into darkness and anarchy after a fire knocked out power to the entire facility, and also affected the backup systems, according to officials.

“It felt like I stepped into a more modern-day version of ‘Mad Max’ when people started raiding the stores just because of the need,” said one traveler who eventually escaped the airport and walked six miles in search of food and shelter after witnessing mobs overpowering clerks and forcing their way into shops in search supplies.

After nearly 11 hours and over 1,000 flight cancellations, Hartsfield-Jackson (ATL) hobbled back to life, but the international air travel snarl is far from ironed out.

While a fire is being blamed for the outage by Georgia Power, its cause is not yet known, but many are incredulous that a single disturbance could cause such an unprecedented breakdown – including recently departed U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, who was trapped on the tarmac in Atlanta for five hours.

“Total and abject failure here at ATL Airport today. I am stuck on @delta flight, passengers and crew tolerating it. But there is no excuse for lack of workable redundant power source. NONE!” he tweeted.

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