At least 17 members of wedding party die of lightning strike in Bangladesh, groom injured

More than a dozen, including the groom, were injured in the lightning strike

Tragedy befell a wedding party as 17 members died after being struck by lightning, while several others, including the groom, were injured as they disembarked from a boat in northwestern Bangladesh, officials said.

More than a dozen people were injured after they were caught in a storm that resulted in several lightning bolts hitting their boat at a bank of the Padma river in Shibganj town, about 245 kilometres northwest of national capital Dhaka.

“We have information of 17 people who died and several others were admitted to the hospital,” police official Farid Hossain was quoted as saying by news agency Reuters.

The victims were on their way to the bride’s house when lightning struck. They were all taken to hospital, said Meherul Islam, a fire service official.

Every year, hundreds die from lightning strikes in Bangladesh. A total 2,164 people died because of them between 2011 and 2020, according to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief.

In 2016, 200 people had died from lightning strikes in May alone, with 82 being killed on a single day.

The sharp increase in the number of deaths prompted Bangladesh’s government, in that year, to include lightning strikes in its list of natural disasters alongside floods, cyclones and storm surges, earthquakes, drought and riverbank erosion.

Victims of such incidents and their families can claim compensation between 7,500 and 25,000 takas (£63 and £211) from the government.

Experts point to increasing deforestation activities in the region being the primary cause behind the increasing number of lightning strikes. They said that earlier that tall trees would have drawn such strikes.