In 1999, 40 million people suddenly lost power in the Philippines, igniting fears of a possible military coup, only to find out that the cooling pipes of one power grid had sucked up 50 dump truck’s worth of jellyfish which caused the outage.

Jellyfish: The Next King of the Sea

On the night of December 10, 1999, the Philippine island of Luzon, home to the capital, Manila, and some 40 million people, abruptly lost power, sparking fears that a long-rumored military coup d’état was underway. Malls full of Christmas shoppers plunged into darkness. Holiday parties ground to a halt. President Joseph Estrada, meeting with senators at the time, endured a tense ten minutes before a generator restored the lights, while the public remained in the dark until the cause of the crisis was announced, and dealt with, the next day. Disgruntled generals had not engineered the blackout. It was wrought by jellyfish. Some 50 dump trucks’ worth had been sucked into the cooling pipes of a coal-fired power plant, causing a cascading power… Continue Reading (14 minute read)

6 thoughts on “In 1999, 40 million people suddenly lost power in the Philippines, igniting fears of a possible military coup, only to find out that the cooling pipes of one power grid had sucked up 50 dump truck’s worth of jellyfish which caused the outage.”

  1. pawsitivelynerdy

    There is a book called spineless about jellyfish and apparently this is a common problem. Pipes will suck cold water from the ocean to cool systems in a heat exchange. The intake pipes do have grates on them but jellies are so squishy they pull right through the grates! I think I remember reading that it cause some problems in a nuclear reactor/energy plant in Japan.

  2. WhosAsphaltIsThis

    All that Jelly caused a major Jam.

  3. General1lol

    All these comments here are about the jellyfish, but can anyone here who was present in the Philippines during the outage talk about the reaction? I’m Filipino but I’ve never heard of this coup scare from any of my family.

  4. RedCelt251

    Who is going around dumping dump truck loads of jellyfish. There should be a law against that.

  5. AdvocateSaint

    A recent story *also* featuring The Philippines, dump trucks, and dead sea creatures

    Despite having one of the worst COVID-19 infection rates in the world, as well as the most inept government response, the country’s government thought now was a good time to launch a completely [irrelevant “beautification” project of a dirty beach near the capital city](https://www.rappler.com/nation/malacanang-defends-manila-bay-makeover)

    Despite every agency hurting for funds to combat the pandemic, the government spent *300-400 million pesos* (around 7-8 million US dollars) to ***dump several tons of artificial sand on the bay.*** This was heavily criticized by citizens for being a waste of time and money, and by environmentalists because the sand was crushed dolomite, a material not native to the area.

    Within days, loads of dead fish washed up on the shore, likely poisoned by the sand washed into the sea. Within weeks, rains and storms washed the rest of the sand out to sea.

    Oh, and a mountainside was destroyed to mine the sand, and runoff frm the site ruined a coral reef. The government fucked up three ecosystems at once.

  6. Fudge-man

    This is why over fishing is a problem. The more we fish the oceans and deplete the stocks, the less stuff there is to keep jellyfish under control. When they’re all gone, jellyfish numbers will increase massively and stuff like this will happen a lot more

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