Young Amersfoort women killed in lightning strike

Lightning (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Emmanuel Boutet)Lightning (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Emmanuel Boutet)

The two victims that were killed by a lighting strike in Amersfoort, Utrecht on Wednesday afternoon, have been identified as two 20 year old women, both from Amersfoort. 

The bolt of lighting came down in Randenbroek Park around 2:30 p.m. The women were found sitting against a tree. Presumably they took shelter from the rain underneath the tree.

According to safety office Veiligheidsregio Utrecht, the police closed down the park for a few hours for investigation. The park was reopened again later in the afternoon. All witnesses of the incident were taken to the police station and offered counselling.

Puppeteer Ennadien Blink, who was about to start a show in the Tourmaline puppet theater in the park, saw the lightning strike. "There was a massive blow. Further on I saw flames at the bottom of a tree. Then I saw people running away. I quickly went inside. The only thing I saw further is that an ambulance was on the scene very quickly." she told De Stentor.

Mayor Lucas Bolsuis is shocked by what happened. "Amersfoort was hit by a huge natural disaster today, in which two people died. A terrible tragedy for the families who suddenly lost their loved ones." he said. "For those who saw it happen, the impact is enormous. I just spoke to them. They told their story and are receiving counselling."

According to the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, the KNMI, the chance of being struck by lightning in the Netherlands is relatively small, but the consequences can be very serious, NOS reports. In Vorden in 2006 two people were killed by lightning strike while they were taking shelter under a tree. In 2007 a woman from Goirle died after being struck by lightning in the street.

The KNMI advises people who are caught in a lightning storm outdoors to make themselves as small as possible. If you are squatted down, with feet together, you are the least likely to be struck by lighting. Do not take shelter under a lone tree, along the edge of a forest, or near a metal fence.