Lightning strikes kill at least 16 at a wedding party in Bangladesh

Victim Bangladesh Lightning Strike
Police and relatives escort the body of a victim of the fatal lightning strikes that killed 16 on Wednesday. AFP via Getty Image
  • Tragedy struck a wedding party in Bangladesh when lightning killed at least 16 people.
  • The groom was among those hurt.
  • Lightning strikes kill hundreds of people in Bangladesh every year, and a rise in occurrences is often linked by experts to climate change.
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Lightning strikes struck a wedding party in Bangladesh on Wednesday, killing at least 16 people and injuring the groom, AFP reported.

The exact death toll differs according to various accounts – Reuters reported that 17 died in the tragedy and 14 were admitted to hospital. At the same time, political party Jamaat-e-Islami tweeted that 20 people were killed.

The group was in a boat headed to the bride’s house when a thunderstorm hit, said a government official per AFP. The wedding party exited the boat to take shelter in Shibganj, a riverside town in northwestern Bangladesh, but several lightning bolts struck them within a few seconds of each other.

The groom was among those injured in the incident, but the bride was reportedly not among the group struck by lightning.

Bangladesh declared lightning strikes a natural disaster in 2016, when at least 261 people died from lightning in the country that year. The declaration allows the government to pay lightning strike victims or their families between $US95 ($AU129) to $US310 ($AU419) as compensation.

The majority of lightning-related fatalities in Bangladesh occur during the warm pre-monsoon season months of March to July.

The country’s neighbor, India, is also a victim of deadly lightning strikes as well. Nearly 1,700 people died in lightning-related deaths between March 2020 and April 2021, reported The Hindustan Times.

Experts have linked the surging number of strikes in the region to climate change. For each 1° Celsius increase in global warming, the earth sees a 12% increase in lightning, a study published in the journal Science found.

Another study, published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics from researchers at Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University in Srinagar, and the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, found that the overall frequency of lightning strikes in India are expected to increase by 10% to 25% every year and could grow by 50% by the turn of the century.