Multiple people have been rushed to hospital in critical condition after being struck by lightning outside the White House, according to reports.
Several people were transported to nearby hospitals following the incident in Lafayette Park, Washington D.C. on Thursday evening.
Four people were critically injured by the lightning strike, the District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department said in a statement.
First responders “transported 2 adult males & 2 adult females to area hospitals,” the department said in a post on Twitter.
“All had critical life-threatening injuries.”
— DC Fire and EMS (@dcfireems) August 4, 2022
Fire department spokesman Vito Maggiolo told The Washington Post that the four patients were found approximately 100 feet away from the Andrew Jackson statue.
A spokesman for DC Fire and EMS published a video on social media to provide an update on the situation.
“This statement is being made inside of a vehicle due to was significant storm conditions that are currently taking place in the area,” the spokesman said.
“At 6:52pm, DC fire and EMS received a report of a lightning strike in Lafayette Park with multiple patients.
“When we arrived, we found a total of four patients.
“There were two adult males and there were two adult females.
“All four were suffering from critical life-threatening injuries.”
“We were able to quickly treat and transport all four patients and they were all taken to area hospitals,” the spokesman continued.
“We want to make note of the fact that uniformed officers from both the United States Secret Service uniformed division, as well as the United States Park Police who witnessed this lightning strike, we want to thank them for immediately responding to the scene and rendering aid to the for injured individuals.”
— Lindsay Watts (@LindsayAWatts) August 5, 2022
Chris Vagasky, a meteorologist and lightning expert who works as an analyst for a company that makes weather instruments, told The Washington Post that there was a “6 stroke flash near the White House that hit the same point on the ground” which means that six separate lightning strikes hit the same exact spot in a fraction of a second.
According to the National Weather Service, the average number of annual deaths recorded from lightning strikes (based on data from 2009 – 2018) is 27.
“Over the last 30 years (1989 – 2018) the U.S. has averaged 43 reported lightning fatalities per year,” National Weather Service noted.
“Only about 10% of people who are struck by lightning are killed, leaving 90% with various degrees of disability.”
Lafayette Park and the blocks that surround it, a seven-acre area known as Lafayette Square, are located across the street from the White House.