Three students killed in lightning strikes on football playground

By John Okafor, Owerri

Three Secondary School (SS3) students in Awka South Local Government Area of Anambra State
have been struck dead by lightning, which paralyzed six others.

Nine students were playing football with their peers on the school’s play ground when tragedy after a training session with their Coach on Saturday, a witness said.

Multiple reports said the lightning bolt, accompanied by claps of thunderstorm suddenly struck the area and hit the boys in the process.

The witness said, “The students were practicing on the football pitch with their coach preparatory to a football tournament.

“The Coach had ended the training session before rain started, but some of the students stayed behind to continue with the exercise.

“A teacher heard the students screaming and running. He (teacher) ran to the field and saw at least nine students trembling and jerking on the turf.”

“That was when he raised the alarm and people gathered to help. The boys were immediately rushed to the school clinic, from where they were taken to hospital in Awka.

“Six of the nine boys were resuscitated and are currently receiving treatment, but three did not survive. Their parents have been contacted,’’ the witness said.

Spokesman for the Nigeria Police Command in Anambra State, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, said the incident has not been reported to the police.

A Consultant Pathologist at the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Awka, Prof. Chukwudi Okani, confirmed the incident.

He said it was a natural disaster and not spiritual, clarifying that lightning could kill by electrocution through direct strike, side splash or ground current strike.

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The Physician, advised that people should install thunder arrestors in their buildings to ward-off electrical current in the event of lightning.

Meanwhile, parents and family members of the victims and sympathizers have besieged emergency Ward where the survivors were receiving treatment.

A medical worker at the hospital, hinted that three out of the nine boys were brought into the hospital dead, but six others were revived.

“As of now, parents of two of the dead boys have taken the corpses away, while one is still in the mortuary.

“It is sad that they were playing on the field barefooted. If they had boots on, the impact of the lightning would probably have been minimised,’’ he lamented.

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