Lightning strike in India kills 18 people taking selfies at 12th-century tower

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A lightning strike killed 18 people taking storm selfies at the top of a 12-century watchtower in northern India Sunday, according to officials. 

There were nearly 30 people at the Amer Fort, a popular tourist attraction near Jaipur, where the lightning strike occurred, BBC News reported. 

Commuters crosses a road as it rains during a lightning strike in the sky in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, July 11,2021.
(Getty Images)

An eyewitness told Reuters TV partner ANI that “many people died in front of our eyes. 

“If people had gotten help and authorities had reached on time then [they would have been alive],” the eyewitness said. “We brought many people down. We rescued the people who were still alive, those who were still breathing and pulled some people out of the gorge.”

Law enforcement sources said most of those at the tower during the lightning strike were young people. 

The lightning strike was part of a storm that tore through northern India. By Monday morning lightning had killed at least 38 people across two Indian states over the previous 24 hours. 

A majority of the deaths occurred in the western state of Rajasthan, where 11 people died after being struck by lightning near a watchtower at the 12th century Amber Fort, police said.

Senior police officer Anand Srivastava said some of the victims were taking selfies near the watchtower when lightning struck late Sunday.

State governments announced financial compensation for the families of the victims and those who were injured.

The Indian Meteorological Department, meanwhile, has warned of more lightning in the next two days.

Lightning strikes are common during India’s monsoon season, which runs from June to September. More than 2,900 people were killed by lightning in India in 2019, according to the most recent official figures available.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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