Children hurt as lightning strikes Paris park, German football pitch

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Published: May 29, 2016 12:11:25 AM

Dozens of people including many children were injured today as freak lightning strikes hit a Paris park and a football pitch in Germany.

Dozens of people including many children were injured today as freak lightning strikes hit a Paris park and a football pitch in Germany.

In Germany, 35 people were injured in the western village of Hoppstaedten when lightning struck the pitch at the end of a children’s football match.

Three adults were gravely injured including the referee, who was hit directly and was rushed to hospital by helicopter, DPA news agency reported.

In Paris, 11 people, eight of them children, were injured when lightning struck as they were celebrating a birthday party in Parc Monceau in the city’s northwest.

Paris police said six of the victims were seriously hurt, with three of the children and one adult suffering life-threatening injuries.

The children were around nine years old, fire service spokesman Eric Moulin said, adding that the group had rushed under a tree to shelter when it began to rain.

“It was while they were heading for shelter, when they were still near a tree, that the lightning fell,” Moulin said.

Witnesses to the German lightning strike said it came out of the blue.

“There was no rain and the sky wasn’t dark,” a police spokesman told DPA.

Thirty children aged between nine and 11 were lightly injured and were taken to hospital for tests, along with five adults.

In Paris, fire service spokesman Moulin said it was an off-duty firefighter who had given the first aid, after hearing the commotion and rushing to help.

Emergency services were on the scene, with 29 fire engines mobilised.

The injured were taken to Paris hospitals including Necker hospital, a specialist children’s facility.

Authorities at Necker have set up a psychological and medical support cell to assist the families of the victims.

The area of the park where the lightning struck was fenced off with caution tape, while two kids’ jackets, still soaking wet from the rain, could be seen hanging on the fence.

Local official Vincent Baladi, speaking to iTELE television, said the injuries included burns.

“We hope they will all pull through,” said Baladi, who handles security matters in Paris’ eighth arrondissement where the park is located.

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