FRANKFURT (AFP) - Lightning struck a football pitch in western Germany on Saturday, injuring 35 people, three of them seriously, news agency DPA reported.
The accident – which came as 11 people were hurt in a similar freak strike at a birthday party in a Parisian park – happened at the end of a children’s football match in Hoppstaedten, DPA said, citing police.
The referee of the match was hit directly by the strike and was rushed to hospital. Two other adults also suffered serious injuries.
Thirty children aged between nine and 11 were lightly injured and were taken to hospital for tests, along with two more adults.
“According to witnesses, there was no rain and the sky wasn’t dark” when the lightning struck, a police spokesman told DPA.
Weather authorities had issued a storm alert for western and southern Germany on Saturday, warning that the bad weather was due to last the weekend.
Storm Elvira had already hit western Germany on Friday, bringing torrential rain and hail and flooding roads in some areas such as the town of Wiesbaden.
In Rhineland-Palatinate, the state where Hoppstaedten is located, bad weather caused a train to derail but there were no injuries.
In Paris, eleven people, eight of them children, were injured when lightning struck as they were holding a birthday party in Parc Monceau in the city’s north-west.