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Six teenagers killed by lightning while playing cricket in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: Six youths, the youngest of whom was aged 14, were killed instantly after lightning struck a building in which they took shelter during a sudden thunderstorm that interrupted their game of cricket in Khurda district of Odisha on Wednesday afternoon. Ten other players were injured; some of them were said to be battling for their lives.

At least one of the dead youths was badly burnt with the huge surge of electricity searing through his body, Khurda SP Dilip Das said. The rest of the deceased do not have much visible signs of injury, Das added.

Police officials said the boys, of Jaripada village in the Tangi police station area, were among the 50-odd people at the playground, including 22 cricketers and an umpire, when the rain came. “As the children raced off to escape the rain, great bolts of lightning cut through the sky. Around 20 of them rushed to an under-construction building that had no roof. And then the lightning struck,” Das said.

Police identified the deceased players as Shahrukh Khan(20), Bibhuti Parida(19), Rahul Nayak(15), Satya Pradhan(15), Ajit Behera(15), and Sk Okil(14). The condition of Bhubaneswar Mohapatra(17) was described by doctors as critical.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced an ex-gratia of Rs 1.5 lakh to the next of the kin of the deceased youths. He said the state government would bear the expenses for the treatment of the injured youths.

A villager of Jaripada told a local TV channel said the boys were very excited by India’s showing at the ongoing cricket World Cup, and were looking forward to the team’s quarterfinal clash with Bangladesh on Thursday.

Of the 10 injured, seven were being treated at the Khurda Community Health Centre, and three at Capital Hospital in Bhubaneswar. Though the injured youngsters are out of danger, they were too shocked to describe what happened when lightning struck.