Three Google Electricians 'Gravely Injured' After Electrical Incident, Widespread Outages Reported

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Three electricians working at a Google data center in Iowa were “critically injured” after an electrical explosion occurred at 11:59 am local time Monday. The company issued a statement to SFGATE:

We are aware of an electrical incident that took place today at Google’s data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, injuring three people onsite who are now being treated. The health and safety of all workers is our absolute top priority, and we are working closely with partners and local authorities to thoroughly investigate the situation and provide assistance as needed.

All three workers were conscious and breathing after the incident. One was taken to medical care by helicopter, while the other two were transported by ambulance.

Google is the world’s most popular search engine by far with an estimated 86 percent of the market share, and its parent company Alphabet is one of the biggest tech giants with a market cap of over $1.5 trillion. Widespread outages were reported around the world on social media and news websites, with people also saying they were also having problems with some Google services like Gmail. The search engine and Gmail are both currently working fine for me, but Downdetector.com reports that many users are still experiencing issues Monday evening. (Oops, just after I wrote that last sentence I tried to Google something and was hit with an error message. We’ll see what happens as things develop.)

There are many funny memes on Twitter depicting people freaking out about their inability to access the search engine. However, since three people were seriously injured, I’m not going to print them here.

SFGATE explains the importance of the data centers:

Google has 14 data centers in the United States, and 23 in total around the world. The data centers “keep all of Google’s products and services up and running around the clock,” according to the company. The Council Bluffs [Iowa] location site is one of Google’s largest.

While no one was killed and hopefully the three employees will recover, the incident reminds us of just how much we rely on the internet and its services in the modern age. Pull the plug and we’re all in loads of trouble.

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