efe-epaNew York, United States

A major power outage on Saturday evening threw parts of New York in darkness, leaving people trapped on trains and in elevators before the electricity was fully restored by midnight.

At the peak of the outage, some 72,000 customers were left without power in the West Side of Manhattan and its neighborhoods, including the otherwise brightly lit Times Square with crowds of tourists and locals heading to theaters.

The power outage occurred at 8 pm local time (00.00 am GMT) and was restored at least three hours later.

Energy company Con Edison said supply was mainly affected in the West Side neighborhood in Manhattan.

Con Edison President John McAvoy in a press conference said that the power supply failure was apparently due to a problem at a substation on West 49th Street which affected six power sectors.

The Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) tweeted that the power failure was observed from the 72nd Street up until West 40th Street and from the 5th Avenue until the Hudson River.

Firefighters were seen helping people trapped in elevators and subway cars get out during the hours of outage.

The New York City Hall said that A, C, F, D and M subway lines were affected.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said all systems were affected and had limited service on lines 1, 2 and 3 on the Westside, including lines 4,5 and 6 on East Side and line 7 between Manhattan and Queens.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was on a campaign trail in Iowa for his presidential bid during the power outage. He said from there that there were some technical issues in the power supply systems.

Some leaders criticized his absence at the time of the blackout.

On a hot midsummer evening, the electricity consumption shot up due to widespread use of air conditioners.

As the city plunged into chaos, drivers were left fend for themselves at traffic intersections with signals not working.

The police for hours urged the residents to avoid the areas between West 42nd and 74th street between 15th and 12the Avenues.

At some intersections, police and civilians worked together to direct traffic.

Some theaters were reported to have canceled their shows. People eating in restaurants and bars were seen using smartphone flashlights.

The power outage took place on the same date as it had happened in the year 1977 that affected much of the city of New York.