According to police in the US capital, two individuals were killed and two more were in serious condition on Friday as a result of a lightning strike that occurred the previous evening close to the White House.
A statement from Washington’s fire and emergency department said that two men and two women suffered “serious life-threatening injuries” as a result of the lightning striking Lafayette Square, a small park opposite the White House, just before 7:00 pm (2300 GMT) on Thursday.
All of the victims were transferred to nearby hospitals, but the Metropolitan Police said on Friday morning that two of them, Donna Mueller, 75, and James Mueller, 76, both from Janesville, Wisconsin, had been declared dead.
According to investigators, the other two individuals are still in severe condition.
A White House spokeswoman said the Biden administration was “saddened by the tragic loss of life.”
“We are praying for those still fighting for their lives,” said Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
Fire and emergency services department spokesperson Vito Maggiolo said in a statement on social media that the US Secret Service and park police sprung into action to aid the four after witnessing the strike.
The department shared pictures of the situation on social media, showing multiple ambulances and at least one fire truck with flashing lights.
Witness David Root reported hearing a “horrific blast” to NBC.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” he said. “It was surreal. I have never seen anything like this in my entire life.”
He claimed that when the lightning struck the park, he had been hiding under a tree.
He stated that the people “weren’t moving,” so he and others rushed over to offer assistance.
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