Nine lightning-struck pupils in hospital

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KES emergency

THE STAR

Worried family and friends of King Edward VII School pupils who were struck by lightning wait outside Milpark Hospitals trauma unit for news on their condition. The boys were pulling the covers over the cricket field when they were struck. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Johannesburg - Nine school children - three of them in critical conditions - were in hospital in Johannesburg on Wednesday morning after being hit by lightning in two separate incidents, provincial authorities said.

These included four girls from Protea Glen Secondary School and five boys from King Edward VII School (KES), Gauteng education department spokesman Charles Phahlane said.

The Soweto girls, all aged 16, were struck on Monday while on their way home from school.

“One of them is in a critical condition and three are stable.”

At KES, nine boys were struck by lightning on Tuesday.

Four of them had already been discharged. A fifth boy was expected to be discharged on Wednesday, said Netcare 911 group manager Mande Toubkin.

Two of the boys remained in critical conditions.

Phahlane said the boys, aged between 16 and 18, were pulling the covers over a cricket pitch when a bolt of lightning struck the field.

On Wednesday, KES spokeswoman Lisa Slooten said the school would not comment and referred media inquiries to Phahlane.

On Tuesday, the school posted updates on Twitter as news broke of the accident. It said the nine boys struck by lightning were all members of the school's first cricket team.

In an interview with Eyewitness News, Mike Russell, a trained paramedic, said he went to fetch his son when the lightning struck.

“The storm came up pretty quickly.”

He noticed a security guard having problems with his cellphone and when he turned around he saw the boys lying on the ground. Russell said he performed CPR on two boys who were more badly injured than the others.

“The children were moved from the field,” he said. - Sapa


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