Two people are confirmed dead with two others fighting for their lives after a lightning strike at Lafayette Park across from the White House. The incident occurred on Thursday evening.
According to emergency services, a large bolt of lightning hit near a tree in the park, putting four individuals in life-threatening conditions.
Two of those are now confirmed fatalities, while the other two are in critical condition after having been rushed to hospital by DC EMS.
Who Was Hit?
The identity of those who were hit has not yet been released. Authorities confirmed there were two adult males and two adult females struck by the lightning.
Terrible weather has been affecting the DC area in the past days, including Virginia and Maryland. Now, it appears these individuals were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time in the middle of the storm.
They were found unconscious around 100 feet away from the statue of Andrew Jackson on his horse, which is right in the middle of the small park.
Nearby news crews packed up and went away from the scene as the weather conditions worsened, since it wasn’t safe to be in the area.
Although fatalities from lightning strikes are relatively rare, there have already been nine individuals killed by lightning so far this year in the United States.
They happened in a variety of situations including camping, flying a drone, army training, boating, and mowing the lawn. On average, lightning takes around 20 lives a year in this country.
Footage of the lightning strike in Lafayette Square, just north of the White House. Bolt hit a patch of trees near the Jackson statue in the center of the park. Four people transported in critical condition. pic.twitter.com/6Ae7gc62OC
— Alejandro Alvarez (@aletweetsnews) August 5, 2022
Lightning Safety Tips
An individual who saw this lightning hit said it looked and sounded like a bomb, shaking “the entire area.” It also made a huge booming sound as the thunder clapped.
Lightning was hitting DC a lot yesterday, as well as parts of Virginia; it’s important to remain safe from this potentially deadly electrical discharge.
If you are in the outdoors and lightning begins to strike, you are potentially in big trouble. You will not be safe unless you can get inside a vehicle or structure.
If that is impossible, avoid tall trees, ridgelines, hills, and very open areas. Do your best to run for cover as fast as possible.
Keep in mind if camping that a tent will do absolutely nothing to protect you from lightning. You should also avoid touching metal or other objects lying around, which can serve as lightning rods and lead to you being electrocuted.
Statement from @dcfireems regarding the lightning strike at Lafayette Park – #DCsBravest express sincere gratitude to the Uniformed Division of @SecretService and officers of US Park Police/@usparkpolicepio for rendering immediate medical care to the injured. #SaferStrongerDC pic.twitter.com/3ubPNA3MXn
— DC Fire and EMS (@dcfireems) August 5, 2022
The Bottom Line
Pray for the recovery of these victims of the lightning strike and for the souls of the two who were lost.
This is very scary news and a reminder of the intense power and terrifying lethality that nature can hit us with at the most unexpected times.