16 Killed, 140 Injured in Church Lightning Strike

A Seventh-Day Adventist church in Rwanda was struck by lightning during a service on Saturday, killing at least 16 people and injuring 140 via electrocution.

According to Kigali mayor Habitegeko Francois, 14 of the victims were killed on the spot when the lightning hit the church, with two more lating passing away due to injuries sustained. The 140 injured were rushed to various hospitals around the city, and many have already been discharged.

"Doctors say that only three of them are in critical condition but they are getting better," Francois told French agency Agence France-Presse. He also mentioned a separate lightning strike occurred the night before, hitting 18 students and killing one.

According to CBC, lightning strikes are common in Rwanda due to its many hills and mountains in its terrain. The site reports that many records of humans and livestock being struck by lightning have been made over the years. According to Rwanda's Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs, 30 people were killed, 61 were injured and 48 livestock animals were killed via lightning in 2016 alone.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the United States has averaged 51 lightning strikes fatalities annually, but only nine to 10 percent of people hit by lightning are actually killed.

According to data compiled by The Weather Channel over a 30-year span, the most lighting-prone cities in the United States are primarily in Florida, with the top five cities being Fort Myers, Tampa, Tallahassee, Orlando and West Palm Beach.

Various videos of people being unexpectedly struck by lightning have popped up on social media in recent months. One of the more recent took place in Argentina, where a 12-year-old was caught on video managing to avoid a strike by just a few feet.

"It was morning, I was with my daughter in the room calming her, because she is scared of lightning," the boy's mother Carolina Kotur told local media according to the Daily Mail. "Then the lady who works in my house told me that my son was walking in the rain and I started filming because I was making a joke, and right next to him the lightning struck. Thank God nothing happened to him."


Another strike took place back in July 2017, when the Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers was hit by a lightning bolt.

The strike hit the right wing of a plane just as worked Austin Dunn was working underneath it. He was rushed to the hospital but is reportedly still alive and recovering.