New Gold says overnight electrical arc fault was behind bright flash last weekend, lighting up sky

Bright flash lights up city sky

A bright flash that lit up the night sky in parts of Kamloops last weekend wasn’t a UFO and it wasn’t a space rock.

It was an electrical explosion at New Afton Mine.

Just after 3:40 a.m. on Saturday, a flash lit up the sky west of the city. One Pineview Valley resident caught the bright light on his doorbell camera and posted a clip to Twitter.

Castanet Kamloops set out to figure out what caused the flash, first reaching out to the astronomy department at Thompson Rivers University.

Dr. Mark Paetkau, a physics and astronomy lecturer at TRU, watched the clip and offered some feedback.

He called it “interesting” but said he would need more information to say for certain what caused the flash. Paetkau said there was no meteor streak noted, and he suggested the mine might be the culprit given the direction the camera was pointing.

A query of New Gold was quickly answered. An arc fault was the cause.

“New Afton Mine site had an electrical fault early Saturday morning,” John Ritter, the mine’s general manager, told Castanet Kamloops.

“As is common with electrical faults, there was a short flash when the electrical protection system was tripped. No workers were injured and the fault was quickly diagnosed and repaired.”

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