Over 70 People Reportedly Die in India After Lightning Strikes, Including 11 Taking Selfies at Tourist Attraction

At least 70 people died in lightning strikes in India on Sunday, including 11 at a popular tourist attraction known as Amber Fort in the state of Rajasthan.

Commuters crosses a road as it rains during a lightning strike in the sky in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India.

Image via Getty/NurPhoto

Commuters crosses a road as it rains during a lightning strike in the sky in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India.

A lightning strike in Jaipur, a city in northern India, killed 11 people at a tourist spot on Sunday, in addition to causing injuries to many others, the Washington Post reports. Reuters reports that in total, 18 people died from similar strikes in the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan on Sunday. The most startling report comes from CBS News, which says 76 people died in India because of lightning strikes.

The victims at the tourist destination were reportedly struck as they took selfies in the rain a top the watchtower, which is a popular attraction known as Amber Fort. In an average year, lightning strikes kill about 2,000 Indians. Note that the country’s monsoon season, which brings with it heavy rain, typically stretches from June to September. 

A senior police officer who spoke to the media relayed that most of those who died in the tower were young. 

At the time the incident occurred, there were 27 people at the location, with it being reported that some jumped to the ground. 

Lightning struck around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, with rescue operations carrying into 7 a.m. on Monday morning.

11 were rescued and are in stable condition.

“There was a tower there. When the lightning struck, the tower’s wall collapsed, many people were buried under it,” said a senior disaster management official to CNN. “Since the fort is on a hill, when the debris was falling and space reduced, some people also fell into a ditch.”

In addition to those who died at the fort, nine others were killed by lightning on Sunday in the state in which Jaipur is located (Rajasthan). Another 41, most of whom were women and children, were killed in Uttar Pradesh state. Of those deaths, 14 occurred in the city of Allahabad.

It was reported that two men died while sheltering under a tree. Seven others died in Madhya Pradesh state. 

The number of casualties was so high because a lot of people work in the agriculture and construction sectors (outdoors) in those states, according to experts. 

It was announced that relatives of the deceased would receive compensation:

The Prime Minister was briefed about the loss of lives and damages due to lightning in parts of Uttar Pradesh. An ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh each from PMNRF would be given to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs. 50,000 would be given to the injured.

— PMO India (@PMOIndia) July 12, 2021

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) says that lightning strike deaths have doubled in the country since the 1960s. One of the causes they’ve attributed that rise to is the climate crisis

The BBC writes that lightning incidents have gone up by 30 to 40 percent since the early/mid ‘90s. In 2018, official figures chalked up 2,357 deaths in the country to lightning. In June 2020 more than 100 people died in two states due to incidents related to lightning. 

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