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Truck Snags Internet Lines

October 9, 1997

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A dump truck snagged three overhead telephone cables, cutting phone and Internet service to about 119,000 callers around the nation for at least four hours, Sprint Corp. said.

The accident Wednesday blocked long-distance calls for the company’s local customers and knocked out service for Sprint PCS wireless customers as far away as Miami.

It also severed Southwestern Bell’s directory assistance services in Kansas and western Missouri for up to 10 hours.

Sprint officials said they were able to restore all services as of 10 p.m. Wednesday, said Darryll Fortune, manager of strategic communications at Sprint’s Westwood, Kan., headquarters.

Sprint PCS customers lost service for about four hours in Kansas City, St. Louis, Omaha, Neb., Des Moines, Oklahoma City, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Miami, San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin, Texas, said Ashley Pindell, a spokeswoman for the service.

Sprint PCS serves 65 cities.

The truck severed the aerial cables and then left, a witness said.

``He pulled down the street, stopped for a minute to check out the damage, then took off, said Kathie Bettinger, a bartender at a pub nearby that was just opening for business when the truck came through.

Neither the truck nor its driver had been found as of today, Fortune said.

The truck damaged 1,600 feet of line that was strung 22 feet off the ground on poles. With its bed down, the truck would easily have missed the cables.