Lightning Strike Kills 11 People Taking Selfie
Eleven people who were taking selfies have been killed and many more left injured after lightning struck a historic fort in India on Sunday.
As many as 30 people were on the towers of the 12th-century Amer Fort in Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan when the lightning strikes occurred. Eleven people were killed while another 17 were injured, with three in critical condition, according to police.
The fort, which gives a panoramic view across Jaipur, was packed with tourists on Sunday. When the lightning struck near Amer Fort, people were said to be taking selfies close to the watchtower, while some jumped to the ground after the strike, according to local media reports.
Senior Jaipur police officer Saurabh Tiwari said: “It was already raining when the people were there. They huddled in the towers as the rainfall intensified. Some of the injured were left unconscious by the strikes. Others ran out in panic and extreme pain.”
Emergency teams were on the scene on Monday, checking whether any victims had fallen into a deep moat on one side of the watchtowers.
Elsewhere on Sunday, lightning strikes killed around 10 people in the desert state of Rajasthan, while at least 42 died in different districts of Uttar Pradesh, according to authorities.
Lightning strikes hit several states across India during the thunderstorms and killed around 63 people in total, authorities confirmed on Monday.
Hundreds of people in India are killed each year in thunderstorms at the start of the monsoon season, which bring respite from the summer heat across the northern Indian plains.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said special payments would be made to the families of people who lost their lives, as he offered condolences.
The office of the Prime Minister tweeted: “The Prime Minister was briefed about the loss of lives and damages due to lightning in parts of Uttar Pradesh. An ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh each from PMNRF would be given to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs. 50,000 would be given to the injured.”
There have been warnings of more lightning in the next two days from the India Meteorological Department.
Lightning strikes are common during India’s monsoon season, which starts in June and continues until September. In March, four gardeners were blasted by lightning and one of them was killed as they huddled under a tree during a storm in Manesar.
The incident was captured on CCTV footage, which showed a bright flash as the bolt struck from the sky and knocked three of the men down instantly.
All four gardeners were hurried to a nearby hospital in Manesar while one of the men died later that same day.
Almost 3,000 people were killed by lightning strikes in 2019, according to recent figures reported by TV channel Al Jazeera. The year before, the southern state of Andhra Pradesh recorded a staggering 36,749 lightning strikes in just 13 hours, the BBC reported.