On the second day of Captiol Hill Block Party I looked skyward and saw a kite entangled in a power line running down Pine St. The toy, originally invented in 5th Century China, stayed stuck with its string dangling behind it until Wednesday afternoon, when a crew of six Seattle City Light workers brought it back down to earth.
The rescue effort was slightly more complicated than you might imagine.
One worker ventured out on a cherry picker to pluck the kite from the wire:
But success eluded him and the kite got stuck on another power line:
Eventually, one worker went manual:
"Usually it's balloons," said SCL worker Rich, when asked how often he has personally retrieved kites from power lines. He normally has to take down "one or two a year," but says he doesn't run the only crew who performs this kind of work for the city. Rich says kites and balloons stuck in wires pose a danger of electrocution.
"If you're on the ground and you touch the kite string or the wire, there's a voltage potential difference and you could get shocked," Rich said. "It's a 26,00 voltage difference between the wires and a 15,000 voltage difference from wire to ground."