Lightning Stikes Festival In Germany, Injuring Scores

MENDIG, Germany, June 5 ( –Organizers In Germany halted a  rock music festival for five hours on Saturday urging more than 90,000 fans to seek shelter in cars and tents as another thunderstorm approached hours after lightning strikes injured 71 people.

As reported by the BBC, the sell-out “Rock am Ring” festival, now in its 31st year and with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Black Sabbath at the top of the billing this year, takes place at the airport in Mendig, near the Nuerburgring motor racing track.

Festival organizers said at a news conference that performances would resume after the storm blew over, and said they had warned some 92,500 participants before arriving to be prepared for bad weather.

“We are not considering cancelling the festival,” said spokeswoman Katharina Wenisch.

A spokesman for the German Red Cross said 71 people were injured during lightning strikes on Friday, including eight who had to be hospitalized. Most were now in good condition, except one man who had to be resuscitated at the scene and remained in hospital, he said.

Pictures and video taken at the scene show the fury of the weather, flooded tents, revellers caked in mud walking past paramedics and crowds running from the point of impact.

“The festival will continue as planned on Saturday. Cancellation … was never an issue,” Marek Lieberberg, who runs the festival, told fans on the event website.

He said the festival would continue to issue weather warnings via Facebook, Twitter and the event website.

One piece of footage showed the moment the powerful bolt hit with a deafening crack.

One piece of footage showed the moment the powerful bolt hit with a deafening crack.

Organizers warned fans more severe thunderstorms were expected.

The event website had reported early Saturday morning that at least 42 people were injured, eight seriously. But the numbers rose as more fans reported injuries in the early morning hours, according to a police spokesman.

Thirty-three people were injured at the festival last year by lightning strikes, according to German media.

Wenisch said the festival had been sold out for months.

Central Europe has been hit by severe storms and rains over the past few weeks, leading to the death of 11 in Germany.

WATCH: Eight people were injured after lighting struck an outdoor rock concert in Germany on Friday, temporarily pausing the show for 45 minutes. Raw footage shows ambulances racing to the scene.

Lightning Safety when Camping

Research shows that a lightning strike that hits the ground can be fatal out to 10 metres. Some people have been injured 15 to 30 metres away from where a lightning strike has hit the ground.

Lying on the ground in a tent during a lightning storm would maximize the chances of being hurt.

One way to reduce your risk of being struck by lightning is by monitoring the Canadian Lightning Danger Maps on a hand-held mobile device. If the red danger zones are in or are approaching your location, go to a safe shelter and stay there until 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder.

Avoid setting up your tent under an isolated tree or the tallest tree, close to a metal fence, or on a hilltop.

his looks like a nice spot for a tent.  However due to the higher ground and the isolated tree next to the tent, this would not be a safe location in a thunderstorm.

When you hear thunder, lightning is within striking distance. Find a safe location immediately, either in a building with plumbing and wiring or an all-metal automobile (not convertible top).  Your tent is not safe.

Unsafe buildings include:

  • Picnic shelters – which have open sides and don’t have a method to ground the lightning strike
  • Outhouses – which don’t have wiring or plumbing to ground the lightning strike.

If caught outside far from a safe location, stay away from tall objects, such as trees, poles, wires and fences. Take shelter in a low lying area.

Stay in a safe location for 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder.  About one third of casualties occur after the storm because people return to outdoor activities too soon.

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