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At least 17 killed by lightning at Bangladesh wedding party

Thursday August 5, 2021 - 00:25 EST

At least 17 people were killed and more than a dozen injured on Wednesday when lightning struck a wedding party on a boat in northwestern Bangladesh, officials said.

The lightning hit as the boat reached the bank of the Padma river in Shibganj town as the wedding-goers made their way to the bride's house, police official Farid Hossain said.

"We have information of 17 people who died and several others were admitted to hospital," Hossain said.

Fourteen people were injured and taken to hospital, Fire Service official Meherul Islam said.

The bridegroom was among those hurt.

Local government official Sakib Al-Rabby said the bride was not with the group when the incident occurred in Shibganj, which is about 245 kilometres northwest of the capital Dhaka.

Mr Al-Rabby said the group had just left their boat to take refuge because of the thunderstorm when they were struck.

Lightning kills hundreds of people every year in Bangladesh, which declared lightning strikes a natural disaster in 2016 when more than 200 people died in the month of May alone, including 82 people on a single day.

Most lightning deaths usually occur during the warm months of March to July.

Experts say the rise in fatal lightning strikes is related to deforestation, which has led to the disappearance of many tall trees that earlier would have drawn lightning strikes.

Air pollution and global warming are also contributing to an increase in the frequency of lightning strikes in the country, experts say.

As the monsoon season hits the region, more than 100 people were killed last month in the western Indian state of Maharashtra by torrential rain that caused landslides and flooded low-lying areas.

Indian authorities also reported that at least 65 people had died by lightning and during thunderstorms in the northern states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.


- AP, Reuters, ABC

© AP, Reuters, ABC 2021

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