Washington, Aug 5 (EFE).- A lightning strike across the street from the White House has killed three people, including a septuagenarian couple traveling to the US capital to celebrate their 56th wedding anniversary.
DC Metropolitan Police Friday said lightning struck the street during a sudden summer storm near the equestrian statue of the 7th US president, Andrew Jackson, in Lafayette Park, just north of the White House.
James Mueller, 76, and Donna Mueller, 75, died from injuries following the lightning strike on Thursday night. They were visiting the capital from Wisconsin.
A 29-year-old man also died, and one person suffered injuries in the lightning strike.
The four were believed to have been riding out the storm under a tree, fire department spokesperson Vito Maggiolo told reporters.
They were so close to the White House that the first to provide them with medical assistance were the agents who patrol the park and members of the Secret Service, in charge of guarding the presidential mansion.
All four were taken to the hospital in critical condition.
On Friday afternoon, Washington municipal police confirmed the death of a 29-year-old man whose identity was withheld pending family notification.
White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre expressed grief at the tragic deaths.
“We are saddened by the tragic loss of life after the lightning strike in Lafayette Park last night. Our hearts are with the families who lost lives — who lost loved ones. And we are praying for those still fighting for their lives,” she said.
The person who is still hospitalized for lightning injuries is a woman, but her identity is unknown.
On its website, the US National Weather Service warns that lightning often strikes tall objects, so it is inadvisable to take shelter under a tree during a storm.
Twenty-three people are killed on average a year by lightning strikes in the US, according to the National Lightning Safety Council.
According to the group, the three fatalities in Washington were the first by lightning since 1991, when a teenager died and 10 others were injured. EFE