THE sky above New York was lit up by an eerie blue glow that could be seen across the city after a huge power plant explosion last night.
Electricity was cut off for thousands while the busy La Guardia airport was shut down by the blast – leading to dozens of flights being grounded or diverted.
Residents were stunned when the chilling glow emerged just after 9pm local time (2am GMT) on Thursday.
Twitter was awash with clips showing the flickering light piercing through low-hanging cloud – which even led some to suspect an alien invasion.
But the New York Fire Department confirmed it was investigating a transformer explosion at a power facility in the Astoria area of Queens.
Jim Long, a spokesman for Fire Department New York, said: “There was a boom and a bang and a flash of light.
“It’s all under control but we’re still getting calls from residents wondering what happened.”
The blue flashes that briefly lit up the night sky were caused by a power surge and electrical “arching” and sparked a transformer explosion and a small fire, said Con Edison.
The firm’s spokesman Bob McGee added that there were no injuries.
Social media lit up with videos and photos of the bright light in the night sky over New York City. The chatter continued into Friday morning.
“Why is the sky lit up bright blue in Queens New York City right now? Is it fireworks?” Louis Santoro, a New York City resident, wrote on Twitter.
One resident, Joe Calderone, told the New York Post: “Damn, I thought a UFO hit Con Ed.”
Con Edison’s McGee reassured residents after internet speculation that aliens or the villain Thanos from the recent Avengers’ movie “Infinity War” had invaded.
“No, it wasn’t space aliens,” he said.
“All power has been restored to normal. “But the videos online of the blue lights in the sky are still flying all over the internet,” McGee said.
The fire caused scattered outages, stalled some city trains and briefly blacked out LaGuardia Airport, which is located in Queens, because of a transmission dip, he said.
It also caused some flight cancellations and delays but all power and services were restored before midnight, McGee said.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a message on Twitter that Con Edison was evaluating the extent of power outages in the area.
He said that travelers could expect delays through early Friday.
The cause of the incident was being investigated.
La Guardia Airport suffered a power blackout and was briefly closed for inspection by aviation officials.
But travellers – including thousands of festive tourists – suffered severe delays and cancellations.
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson tweeted that La Guardia was “temporarily closed due to a power outage resulting from the Con Edison explosion.”