Thunderstorms are quite common during the summer months, and most people
don’t think twice about them when they happen—but they should.
Lightning remains one of the biggest threats in any thunderstorm, responsible
for dozens of deaths and injuries each year. Many times these injuries
and fatalities occur because people thought they were safe when they really
weren’t. Consider the following examples.
Entire Soccer Team Killed
During a soccer game in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1998, all 11
members of the visiting team were killed by a single strike of lightning, as
BBC reported. The bolt apparently hit one player directly and arced to hit the others.
Thirty others nearby were also injured. The home team was left untouched
by the strike.
Lessons to Learn:
- Lightning can travel from person to person;
- Never play field sports when a thunderstorm is in the area.
Girl Struck by Lightning Under a Clear Sky
In July 2011, the
Daily Mail reported that 11-year-old Britney Wherle of Pennsylvania was walking with
a friend when she was struck by lightning without warning during a sunny
day. The lightning came from a thunderstorm out of sight some distance
away, entering her left shoulder, traveling down her arm and exiting through
the wrist. She didn’t hear the thunder until several seconds later,
and wasn’t aware the bolt had broken her arm until she attempted
to open a door with it a few minutes later.
Lesson to Learn:
- Lightning can strike from storms as far as 12 miles away. If you can hear
thunder in the distance, assume the threat of lightning exists.
Lightning is highly unpredictable, but most lightning deaths and injuries
can still be prevented through proper safety practices. To learn more,
check out our post on
5 Lightning Safety Tips for August.