27 deaths caused by lightning strikes during monsoon storm in eastern India

After the monsoon storm in West Bengal, at least 27 people on a flight were killed by lightning and 4 passengers were hospitalized.

Officials said that after severe turbulence during the monsoon storm in eastern India, lightning strikes have caused 27 deaths and 4 passengers were taken to hospital.

Officials said West Bengal was hit by a thunderstorm on Monday night, and lightning strikes occurred in parts of the state-which is quite common during the country’s annual monsoon from June to September each year.

West Bengal State Disaster Management Minister Javid Ahmed Khan told AFP on Tuesday: “Many of the 27 people on Monday night…are farmers in the state and work in the fields.”

Lightning over the apartment building during a thunderstorm in the suburbs of New Delhi [File: Prakash Singh/AFP]

Authorities said that most of the victims were farmers, but some people just happened to be outdoors. The storm hit six areas of the state and was accompanied by strong winds.

Officials said a flight from the western city of Mumbai to Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, was hit by a storm when it was about to land.

Eight passengers were injured and four were taken to the hospital.

“One passenger is still in the hospital. The others have been discharged,” Airport Director C Pattabhi told AFP. “This is an intimate shave for the passengers.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced 200,000 rupees (US$2,746) for the close relatives of the deceased, and 50,000 rupees (US$686) for each injured person.

According to the latest data from the National Criminal Records Bureau, nearly 2,900 people died of lightning in India in 2019.

Before the rainy season, summer storms with strong winds are common in India. The Bureau of Meteorology predicts there will be more storms in India in the next few days.

The monsoon is essential to replenish the water supply in South Asia, but it can also cause widespread death and damage throughout the region.

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About the Author: Agnes Zang