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Five hurt in lightning strike

Children and staff injured as thunderstorm hits Pyrénées treetop adventure park

FIVE people have been injured, three seriously, after being hit by lightning in a forest park in the Hautes-Pyrenees.

They had been amongst groups in the forest canopy at the Chloro'fil aerial adventure park at Argeles-Gazost when the lightning struck.

It is thought it hit a tree and cables supporting the aerial pathways for the "accrobranche" network where visitors were walking.

A four-year-old child was taken to hospital in a coma but later regained consciousness. A 14-year-old was burned on the back and a 20-year-old park monitor received leg burns.

Another 42-year-old monitor was also injured and a 14-year-old boy was thrown several feet by the strike but left unhurt. 25 others were treated for shock.

The injured were taken to hospitals in Toulouse, Tarbes and Lourdes.

There were about 60 people in the park at the time. Officials had started to close it down it as stormy weather was closing in but visitors did not have time to come down from the treetops when the lightning struck.

Gendarmes are investigating what happened.

On Sunday two women were hit by lightning on a beach on the ile d'Oleron in Charente-Maritime. Both were taken to hospital but were making good recoveries.

Each year in France around 100 people are hit by lightning strikes, generally in open or high country.

The association Protection Foudre lists 20 recommendations for ways to avoid being hit - with the main ones being to stay clear of trees and avoid having metal objects, such as umbrellas, above one's head. It says the best protection is to spread a groundsheet or plastic sheet on the ground and lie flat out on it.
Screengrab from Chloro'fil website

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