Girl (2) among dead in lightning accident

2010-11-27 22:48

Among the seven people who died in Pongola when the marquee they were in was struck by lightning was a two-year-old girl.

Parents and children were gathered for a Christmas party on Friday afternoon at the Inkosiyethu creche when the accident happened.

Sixty-seven people were injured.

“At 2pm while the function was in progress lightning struck a tent that was erected at the creche, spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said.

“Five people died on the scene and two passed away at a local hospital.”

Those who died were identified as Sevile Moya (2), Thobisile Buthelezi (35), Thalitha Sukazi (44), Thembhekile Mathonsi (20), Nondumiso Khumalo (24), Mrs Mathenjwa (33) and Mrs Nsthangase (40).

Naicker said 14 people were receiving treatment in local hospitals.

Head of KwaZulu-Natal disaster management Mthokozisi Duza said a unit had been sent to Pongola to access the situation and conduct an investigation.

He said an inquest docket had been opened.

SA Weather Services forecaster Mark Todd said a marquee or a tent was not a safe structure to be under when there was a lightning storm.

“The safest place to be is inside a solid structure or building with walls or a car with the windows rolled up, he said.

“When lightning strikes a house the electricity gets conducted around the frame of the house because it is earthed well, but a tent does not have solid walls and is not earthed well so if it is struck the electricity can go through the tent and hit people inside.”

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