Lightning kills football coach during training session in north France

One of the players was also seriously injured during the strike. Storms are set to continue this weekend

Lightning over French skies
The victim was a coach in his early thirties. Photo for illustrative purposes only
Published Last updated

A man was killed and another seriously injured by lightning when it struck a sports pitch in northern France during a training session yesterday evening (May 23).

Jordan, 31, was coaching children at a local amateur football club during the storm. 

He started to ask the group to make their way off of the pitch due to the weather, and then was hit by lightning as he began to walk off with the group.

Emergency services arrived, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The seriously injured and unnamed player was transported to a nearby hospital, the prefecture has stated.

One other person was slightly injured by the strike on the pitch in Courrières, near Lens (Pas-de-Calais). Other players for the club AS Courrières and people present were “shocked by the incident but unharmed.

'I wish it were me instead'

Friends and family members gathered at the stadium where the incident happened to pay their respects and light candles for the dead player. 

"When I arrived, I said to myself 'it's OK, he's in the ambulance, he must be injured,'" Jordan's father told media outlet BFMTV. 

"But when I saw the eyes of the ambulance crew, I quickly realised that he had died," he added.

"He was in good health, I don't understand... I would have preferred it to be me [who was hit]," the father added. 

The coach leaves behind a wife and young son

Jordan's brother also paid his respects, calling him an "enthusiast" for the local football club. 

"He was a teacher and he trained the children, he did everything. He was a great person in the club...Football was his whole life".

Elsewhere, in Alsace, storms caused heavy hailstorms, leading to bus and tramways temporarily being closed. 

Read more: Storms in France: what to do if at home, out walking or in car

Stormy weather continues

Storms are set to continue in France today, particularly in the east and south-east of the country. However most of Brittany and the south-west remaining free of adverse conditions.

Rain will peak in the afternoon, especially in the Cévennes and Pyrénées but most will have cleared by the evening. Temperatures are set to fall quickly as the evening comes. 

Weather will remain calm in the west on Saturday (May 25), although there may be some light rain, with cloudy skies expected. 

In the east, there is a higher chance of rain, and some scattered thunderstorms may appear. 

On Sunday (May 26), stormy weather will reappear in the north and west, with rain and lightning potentially reaching the eastern Vosges mountains. 

These weather patterns will move south towards Lyon and the Rhône valley at the start of next week, although some rain will remain in Normandy. 

Predictions from La Chaîne Météo (owned by Le Figaro) for the next four weeks are that the unstable and stormy weather will continue.

Frequent warnings for thunderstorms at the beginning of June are expected.

It is also predicted that warm air rising from the Mediterranean (which partly causes storms) will persist throughout the month, leading to a warm, early summer for those near the coast in the south. 

Currently, there are no heightened storm warnings for today or the weekend, although this is subject to change. You can keep up to date with all official weather warnings on the Météo France website.

Read more: What action is advised with different Météo France weather warnings