Eastern Times Correspondent, Dhaka, 4 August: At least 17 people, including seven members of the same family, were killed and 15 others injured after lightning struck a wedding party boat in Chapainawabganj District of Bangladesh.
The incident took place at Tellikhari Ferry Ghat on the bank of Padma River in the South Char Paka area at around 12pm on Wednesday, according to police and local administration officials.
Confirming the matter, Shibganj Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Shakib-Al-Rabbi said the boat carrying a wedding party set for Panka in Shibganj upazila from Narayanpur in Chapainawabganj Sadar upazila.
As heavy rain started when the boat was crossing the Padma, the boat docked at the ferry ghat and they took shelter under a thatched shed there at around 12pm.
Suddenly, a thunderbolt hit them, killing 15 on the spot while two others died on the way to the hospital, the UNO said, adding that 12 of the deceased are male and five are female.
Although the detailed identity of all the deceased persons could not be known immediately, it was known that 16 of the victims are from Sadar upazila and one is from Shibganj upazila, he said.
The injured were sent to the Chapainawabganj Sadar Hospital.
Residential Medical Officer (RMO) of Chapainawabganj Sadar Hospital Dr Nurunnahar Nasu said, six dead bodies and four injured persons were brought to the hospital.
The condition of the four injured persons is very critical and they may be referred to the Rajshahi Medical College Hospital, she added.
Lightning strikes have turned into one of the deadliest natural disasters in Bangladesh claiming over 200 lives every year due to the loss of natural defence and lack of precautionary measures.
According to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, 2,164 people died in lightning strikes in the country from 2011 to 2020.
At least 216 people die every year on average in lightning strikes, more than by floods, cyclones and other natural calamities.
Experts said about 70% of the total lightning strikes usually occur between April and June and advise everyone to move with caution during this time.