A northern KwaZulu-Natal mother is devastated after her daughter, mother and sister were killed by lightning at the weekend.
Boniswa Mlambo had run to their room to hide from a thunderstorm only to find it on fire.
No one was able to save the three from the blaze.
The Saturday thunderstorm also killed three members of another family.
In the first tragedy, Mlambo’s 10-year-old daughter, Nomonde, mother, Buyisile Mlambo, 46, and young sister, Nelisiwe, 9, died.
The deadly lightning had struck their Weenen Road, Colenso, rondavel on Saturday afternoon.
A neighbour who is also a relative, Ntingile Mlambo, told the Daily News on Sunday that Buyisile’s husband, Phumuphele, who was in the room, survived the lightning. He is traumatised.
“Nomonde’s mother (Boniswa) survived because she was in a separate house. But she could also have been killed because she was going to hide from the thunderstorm in the same room where others were killed,” Ntingile said.
“When Boniswa came out of her room and saw the rondavel on fire, she realised that her mother, child, sister and father, Phumuphele, were still inside and ran to call neighbours for help,” she said.
Ntingile said the father had told her the last thing he saw was a red light shooting into their door, followed by a loud sound.
“When he woke up, he said he could not speak or move. Everyone was scattered on the floor in the room and his wife, daughter and grandchild were lifeless.”
Neighbours managed to put out the fire, but the thatched-roof rondavel was by then half burnt.
Social Development MEC Weziwe Thusi said on Sunday she had sent social workers to counsel the family of the other victims - Bertha Ngozo and Gladys Khumalo, aged between 80 and 90, and Khumalo’s 60-year-old son, Bhukwana, who were also struck by lightning at their Madulini home near Vryheid on Saturday.
“I cannot imagine what they must be going through having lost three relatives just hours after burying another (unrelated to the lightning strike). We wish those who are in hospital a speedy recovery,” Thusi said.
KZN Emergency Medical Services spokesman, Robert McKenzie, said the three were already dead when paramedics arrived at their home.
“The paramedics treated three female patients, two were aged 52 and the other 49 years old, who had survived the strike,” he said.
“The women who survived the strike were all in a serious condition and KZN Emergency Medical Services paramedics stabilised them before transporting them to the local eDumbe Community Health Centre.”
McKenzie said their flight crews had reported that the satellite weather report had showed multiple storms over the northern KZN area.