More than 40 people were injured from lightning strikes in two separate incidents in Europe on Saturday.
Lighting hit a children’s birthday party in an upscale Paris park, injuring at least 11 people, AFP reports. Police say most of the victims were children and six of them were seriously injured, according to the news agency.
According to Paris city councilor Karen Taieb, the group at Parc Monceau had “taken shelter under a tree,” AFP adds.
“They have burns,” local official Vincent Baladi said, according to the news service. “The lightning struck suddenly.”
Paris fire service spokesman Eric Moulin tells the AP that an off-duty fireman who happened to be visiting a nearby museum immediately rushed to the scene. There, he found “nine of the 11 victims prone on the ground under the tree.” He then proceeded to administer “first aid, including heart massages, and helped direct rescuers to the scene.”
“Without his actions, it would have been much worse,” Moulin told the AP.
The wire service describes the scene in footage shot by the fire service of a “makeshift treatment center” in a nearby bank:
“Children wrapped in gold thermal blankets lay on the bank’s tiled floor as firefighters administered first aid before evacuating the victims to area hospitals in Paris. Two small feet, smudged with what looked like soot, stuck out from underneath one of the blankets.”
As The Washington Post notes, on Friday, “the country’s meteorological service warned about the possibility of thunderstorms throughout the weekend.”
Also Saturday, another lightning strike hit a children’s soccer game in Hoppstaedten in western Germany, injuring 35 people. Like the Paris case, most of the injured are children, as the DPA wire service reports. Three adults (including the game’s referee) sustained “serious injuries,” while 30 children and 2 other adults were hospitalized because of irregular heartbeats.
And like Paris, the lighting happened unexpectedly. As police spokesman tells DPA, “There was no rain and no dark sky according to witnesses.”