Lightning strike near White House kills two people

A 2018 photo shows the statue of Andrew Jackson, with the White House behind it, in Lafayette Square in Washington, where four people were struck by lightning on August 4, 2022

Two people were killed and two more were in critical condition on Friday after a lightning strike near the White House the night before, police in the US capital said.

The lightning hit Lafayette Square, a small park across the street from the White House, shortly before 7:00 pm (2300 GMT) Thursday, leaving two men and two women with “critical life-threatening injuries,” according to a statement from Washington’s fire and emergencies department.

The other two adults remain in critical condition, police said.

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“We are praying for those still fighting for their lives,” added Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in a statement.

Photos posted by the department on social media showed multiple ambulances and at least one fire truck with flashing lights working at the scene.

“I just couldn’t believe it,” he was quoted as saying. “Was surreal. I have never seen anything like this in my entire life.”

The people “weren’t moving,” he said, so he and others ran over to give help.

The strike was part of a severe thunderstorm that hit the American capital on Thursday evening.

“Anybody that goes to seek shelter under a tree, that’s a very dangerous place to be.”

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