US government "sad": Three dead in lightning strike at the White House

During a violent thunderstorm over the US capital Washington, lightning strikes in a park near the White House.

US government "sad": Three dead in lightning strike at the White House

During a violent thunderstorm over the US capital Washington, lightning strikes in a park near the White House. Eyewitnesses describe a "terrible bang". There are several fatalities.

After a lightning strike near the White House in Washington, the death toll has risen to three. After a couple, a 29-year-old man died on Friday from his serious injuries, according to the police in the US capital. A seriously injured woman was still in mortal danger.

According to the fire department, the lightning struck on Thursday evening (local time) in Park Lafayette Square, across from the President's office, and struck two women and two men. The victims suffered life-threatening injuries and were taken to nearby hospitals.

Police initially confirmed on Friday that two of the injured were pronounced dead. According to the information, it is a 75-year-old woman and her 76-year-old husband. The couple came from the state of Wisconsin in the north of the USA and wanted to celebrate their 56th wedding anniversary in Washington, as their niece told the newspaper "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel". The seriously injured 29-year-old was later pronounced dead.

The victims had apparently wanted to protect themselves from the storm under a tree - which experts warn against. "Trees are not safe places," fire department spokesman Vito Maggiolo told the Washington Post. Rather, they are "very dangerous places" during a thunderstorm.

According to the fire department, first aid was provided by members of the Secret Service and the Park Police who witnessed the lightning strike. An eyewitness told NBC television that he heard a "terrific bang". "I just couldn't believe it. It was so surreal."

US President Joe Biden's spokeswoman, Karine Jean-Pierre, said the government was "saddened by the tragic loss of life". On average, 27 people are killed by lightning every year in the United States. Only around 10 percent of people struck by lightning die, but many survivors suffer permanent damage.

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