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Archive for April 2nd, 2008

  • At the time of the incident there wasn’t much rain in the area
  • Meteorological Department warned the public to beware of lightning
  • A total of eight people have been killed since January this year

At least four soldiers attached to the Katukaliyawa Army Training Centre in Polonnaruwa were killed and a further 65 injured, when lightning struck them last evening, Hingurakgoda police said.

Police said that soldiers were preparing for their evening physical training session when they were struck by a powerful bolt of lightning. “At the time of the incident there wasn’t much rain in the area but there was lightning and thunder,” Military Spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara told Daily Mirror.

He said the injured personnel had been admitted to the Polonnaruwa and Hingurakgoda hospitals soon after the incident. “At least one soldier was in a critical condition, while most of others were in a state of shock due to the lightning,” the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, hospital sources told that several of the soldiers were improving and would be discharged from hospital soon. Sources said that most of them were in a state of shock, while few had received burn injuries as the lightning had struck them directly.

The incident came just days after the Meteorological Department warned the public to beware of lightning.

Three people have been killed by lightning in the past three weeks and a total of eight have been killed since January this year. The deaths have been reported from Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and the Western Province.

A spokesman for the Meteorological Department said that the public should avoid bathing in rivers and streams and travelling, particularly in open spaces when there is lightning.

Placing TV antennas above roadside power lines poses a threat to domestic electrical circuits. Antenna cables should be unplugged at once when there is lightning, the department warned.

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