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17 Dead After Lightning Strikes Boat Carrying Wedding Party

Another 14 were injured in tragedy in Bangladesh
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 5, 2021 7:46 AM CDT
17 Dead After Lightning Strikes Boat Carrying Wedding Party
People gather around bodies of victims after lightning killed more than a dozen people in Shibganj, Bangladesh, on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Md Jahangir Alom)

(Newser) – What was supposed to be a day of celebration turned into a day of mourning in Bangladesh, after a lightning strike killed more than a dozen people in a wedding party. Authorities say a boat headed toward the bride's house on Wednesday had just reached the banks of the Padma River in Shibganj when the bolt struck the vessel, per CNN. Police and fire officials say at least 17 were killed, while 14 were taken to the hospital with injuries. The bridegroom was said to be among the injured; the bride was not on the boat, officials say, per the New York Times.

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Deadly lightning strikes aren't uncommon in Bangladesh, which sees most of them between March and July. In fact, five years ago, the nation declared lightning strikes a natural disaster, with 200 victims just that May (more than 80 of them in one day). In addition to climate change and increased air pollution, experts say one reason the strikes have become more prevalent of late is because deforestation has yanked down trees that otherwise would attract the lightning—instead, it hits in low-lying fields, often where farmers are toiling. The Guardian notes lightning strikes are also common across other parts of South Asia during monsoon season, which takes place from June to September. (Read more Bangladesh stories.)

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