Kolkata: Lightning bolts robbed a young life and caused extensive damage to a building in south Kolkata on Sunday.
While lightning deaths aren’t uncommon in rural areas in the state, they are quite unusual in the city, where most people are inside earthed steeland-cement buildings or vehicles, which dissipate the charge harmlessly.
A bolt of lightning struck budding cricketer Debobrata Pal, 21, at Vivekananda Park, off Southern Avenue, even as he was walking back to his tent after wrapping up practice at 1.45pm. He died on the way to hospital. Around the same time, another bolt struck a house on Ekdalia Road near Gariahat. It hit a running air-conditioner, which sparked a fire that gutted the second floor of the three-storey building. Both bolts struck while it hadn’t been raining.
Debobrata’s coach had asked him, moments earlier, to pack up. When the bolt struck, Debobrata slumped to the ground, but was alive for a few minutes after being hit. Officials of the cricket academy tried to revive him, to no avail. Doctors said he suffered a massive cardiac arrest.
When a bolt of lightning strikes, a charge of 30,000-100,000 amperes passes through a person’s body, which can cause injuries that range from simple erythema to serious multi-organ injury and cardio-pulmonary arrest.