A 12-year-old boy is fighting for his life after he and a man in his 50s were hit by lightning during a school football tournament in Hertford, England. The incident happened on Monday evening at The Sele School, where staff and first aiders performed CPR on the boy until ambulances arrived.
How the lightning strike happened
According to the East of England Ambulance service, the boy and the man were struck by lightning at 5.16 pm in Welwyn Road, near the school. The weather was cloudy and windy, but there was no rain or thunderstorm warning at the time. The lightning strike was described as a “freak accident” by a witness who saw a flash of light and heard a loud bang.
How the victims were treated
The boy was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge in a critical condition, while the man in his 50s was taken to Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow for further care. Both were transported by land ambulance, accompanied by air ambulance medics. The ambulance service praised the staff and first aiders at the scene who provided first aid and CPR while waiting for the emergency services.
How the school and the community reacted
The headteacher of The Sele School, Chris Quach, posted a message on the school’s Facebook page on Monday night, saying that the lightning strike had affected “several” people and that the school was “deeply saddened” by the incident. He thanked the staff and first aiders who tended to the injured attendees and the emergency services who responded quickly. He also asked the school community to keep the victims and their families in their thoughts and prayers.
The school remained closed on Tuesday and offered counselling and support to the students and staff who were affected by the incident. The school also received messages of sympathy and solidarity from other schools and organizations in the area.
How rare and dangerous are lightning strikes
Lightning strikes are rare and unpredictable events that can cause serious injuries or death. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), the UK sees an average of 30 to 60 lightning fatalities and injuries each year. The risk of being struck by lightning is estimated to be one in 19.9 million.
The effects of a lightning strike on the human body depend on several factors, such as the intensity, duration, and type of the current, and the location and extent of the contact. Some of the common injuries caused by lightning include burns, cardiac arrest, nerve damage, hearing loss, and psychological trauma.
How to protect yourself from lightning
The best way to avoid being struck by lightning is to stay indoors during a thunderstorm and avoid using electrical appliances or corded phones. If you are outdoors, you should seek shelter in a building or a car, and avoid open spaces, tall objects, metal structures, and bodies of water. You should also avoid touching or standing near people or objects that are connected to the ground, such as fences, trees, or poles.
If you are caught in a thunderstorm and cannot find shelter, you should crouch down on the balls of your feet, with your head tucked in and your hands over your ears. You should also keep your feet close together and avoid lying down or spreading out. This will reduce your height and contact with the ground, and minimize the risk of being struck by lightning or suffering from ground current.
What will happen next
The fate of the boy and the man who were struck by lightning remains uncertain, as they are still receiving medical treatment. The school and the community are hoping for their recovery and supporting their families. The incident has also raised awareness and concern about the dangers of lightning and the need for safety precautions. The question of whether the school football tournament could have been prevented or postponed due to the weather conditions is also being discussed.