Local police confirmed to AFP Friday that two people were killed and two others seriously injured after they were struck by lightning in the immediate vicinity of the White House Thursday night in Washington.
“Two people have been declared dead after being struck by lightning in Lafayette Square,” police said, a few meters from the gates of the White House.
Authorities said they were a couple from rural Wisconsin, James Mueller, 76, and Donna Mueller, 75.
Police said the other two victims were still “in critical condition”.
White House spokeswoman Karen-Jean-Pierre offered her condolences to the families of those who died in a statement on Friday and offered her “prayers to those still fighting for their lives.”
On Thursday, a few minutes before 7 p.m., lightning struck the public park adjacent to the US President’s residence.
Pictures posted by firefighters showed dozens of rescue vehicles in the tree-lined plaza as the storm continued to batter Washington.
According to data from the US health authorities, the probability of being infected with lightning is 1 in a million.
“Once there is lightning, you have to take shelter in a safe place. Of course, trees are not safe places,” Washington Fire Department spokesman Vito Maguolo told local media.
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