“The church was fully-packed when the lightening struck,” he said. “Eight died on the spot.”
Eye-witnesses said some of the victims died after being trampled in the stampede that ensued as congregation tried to rush out of the fully-packed church.
“There was total confusion as people tried to beat each other for the two exit doors,” said a survivor of the incident who was in the church when the incident happened.
Chief of Health Services Charles Mwansambo said the eight people were brought to the city’s main Kamuzu Central Hospital already dead. At least 40 others were also treated at the hospital, one of whom is still in the intensive care unit.
“It’s a tragedy from a natural phenomenon,” he said.
Lightening deaths are not uncommon in Malawi during rainy seasons. Traditionalists believe that one is susceptible of being struck by lightening if one puts on a red cloth or stands under a tree when it is raining. It is also widely believed that some people send lightening by magic to kill opponents.
The latest fatalities bring the number of people killed by lightening to eleven since the beginning of the rainy season last month.-maravipost