Thirty-five injured as lightning strikes during German football match

Thirty-five people, including 30 children, were injured when lightning struck during a football match in western Germany on Saturday.

Three adults, the referee being one of them, suffered serious injuries when lightning struck the children's game in the town of Hoppstaedten in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, police said.

Witnesses immediately performed CPR on the victims, and one man was taken to hospital in a helicopter.

The 30 children aged 9 to 11 and two other adults suffered irregular heartbeats. They were taken to hospital as a precautionary measure, but were considered only to be slightly injured.

The match had just ended when the lightning hit. "There was no rain and no dark sky according to witnesses," the police spokesman said.

Meteorologists said three storm cells were moving through the area at the time of the incident. The German weather service had warned of heavy storms across the state during the afternoon.

Roads were closed across Rhineland-Palatinate due to landslides and fallen trees from earlier heavy storms during the night, and one section of the railway network had been reduced to a single track, a police spokesman in the city of Koblenz had said earlier.

A weather front brought heavy rain and hail to the region late Friday, causing widespread damage. Whole vineyards had been stripped of foliage, the spokesman said, but no people had been injured, he added.

A train heading for the city of Trier near the Luxembourg border derailed owing to a landslide. The 250 passengers on board were able to continue their journey on a replacement train. The stretch of the rail network was still operating on a single track on Saturday morning, police said.

The police and fire service were kept busy all night with call-outs to flooded cellars and fallen trees.

In other news, a female hiker was buried up to her hips in a landslide in the Black Forest in the south-west of Germany. The 64-year-old suffered only slight injuries, a police spokesman in the city of Freiburg said.

Parts of the hiking trail were closed after the landslide.

Last update: Sat, 28/05/2016 - 20:25

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