JAIPUR, INDIA – Tragic reports indicate that multiple tourists taking photo selfies during a storm in Jaipur, India on Sunday were instantly killed when a single bolt of lightning struck a watchtower that they were standing on.
Of the 27 people at the top of Amer Fort – a popular place for tourists that was originally constructed in the 12th century – 18 of them were immediately killed, with some of them leaping from the structure as the lightning strike hit; most of the victims were young, reports say.
“Many people died in front of our eyes,” an eyewitness said. “We brought many people down. We rescued the people who were still alive, those who were still breathing and pulled some people out of the gorge.”
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At least 2,000 people a year are killed in India due to lightning strikes, most often during India’s monsoon season between June and September. These deaths tend to occur more regularly in rural regions where people spend more time outside farming and the like, according to reports, and are said to be happening more often as time goes by.
Research indicates that in the past 30 years, instances of lightning strikes have increased by 30 to 40 percent; while there is no concrete evidence as to why this is happening, some experts speculate that climate change could be a factor.
Local officials, with the support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, plan to offer compensation to the families of the victims in Sunday’s lightning strike.
According to the most recent data, approximately 259 people have died while attempting to take dangerous selfies between 2011 and 2017.