Nearly 80 people have been struck by lightning in several Indian states, Indian authorities said Monday, including many who took selfies near an old fort in Rajasthan.
Hundreds of people die every year in India due to the storms and torrential rains that accompany the onset of the monsoons.
Of the 76 victims, at least 23 people died in Rajasthan (northwest), including twelve who witnessed the sight of a thunderstorm over Jaipur on Sunday from watchtowers near the famous Amber Fort – which dates back to the 12th century – A state disaster management official told AFP.
“The rain started when people were in” the fort, Saurabh Tiwari, a Jaipur police officer, told AFP. “They took refuge in the towers as the rain intensified.”
He said as many as 30 people were on the towers when the lightning struck. “Some of the wounded were unconscious, others escaped,” Tiwari said.
Authorities told local media that some of the victims were taking selfies during the storm.
Rescue teams were checking to see if any victims had fallen into a deep pit on one side of the towers.
France Press agency
Each year, tens of thousands of tourists visit Amber Fort, a medieval fortress located on a hilltop outside Jaipur, offering panoramic views of the city.
Officials in neighboring Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, said at least 42 people were killed by lightning on Saturday and Sunday, without giving further details.
An official at the state’s disaster control center told AFP that 11 more people died over the weekend in Madhya Pradesh.
The official said that two of them, who had taken their camels and sheep to graze, were sheltering under a tree when lightning struck them.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the families of the victims would receive compensation.
Nearly 2,900 people were killed by lightning in India in 2019, according to the latest available official figures.
The great monsoons from June to September are crucial to life and agriculture in the Indian subcontinent, but every year they cause great damage and cause hundreds of deaths in this region of the world inhabited by a fifth of humanity.