Northern Ireland

Lisburn lightning strike: Man and son critically injured, daughter stable

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe man was picking up his children from school when they were struck by lightning, as Barra Best reports

A man and his five-year-old son are in a critical condition in hospital after they were struck by lightning in County Antrim.

The man's daughter, seven, is in a stable condition after the incident at Killowen Primary School in Lisburn.

It is understood that school staff used a defibrillator on the man, 36, and he was resuscitated at the scene.

He was taken to Lisburn's Lagan Valley Hospital before being moved to the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption SDLP councillor Pat Catney said the police and ambulance service "responded very quickly"

The children were taken to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children and are thought to have suffered burn injuries.

Fiona Douglas, the school's principal, said that staff and parents treated the family before the emergency services arrived.

"Following this all other pupils, accompanied by staff, went safely to nearby Laurel Hill Community College, where they were collected by parents," she said.

"The thoughts of the entire school community are with the family at this time."

Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption There were thunderstorms and heavy rain in Lisburn throughout the afternoon

According to the school's website, a sports day was held on Tuesday for children aged four to seven.

Parents arriving to pick up their children were visibly distressed by what had happened.

The school will be closed on Wednesday.

Social Democratic and Labour Party councillor Pat Catney said people were "stunned" by the news of the injuries to the family.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The area around Killowen Primary School was cordoned off after the lightning strike

"This is an absolute tragedy" he said.

"We have to think of the family.

"I'm thinking of the young father and the children who were injured as well.

"There's no preparing for an incident of this nature - it was just one of those freak, tragic accidents that has stunned me and shocked me."

Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption Killowen Primary School will be closed on Wednesday

Mr Catney praised police and the ambulance service who had "responded very quickly".

He also paid tribute to parents and teachers at the school who had helped to direct traffic and ensure that children were able to leave safely.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said it arrived seven minutes after receiving a report just before 14:00 BST that a man had been struck by lightning.

It said people should "remain very vigilant when they are out and about" due to the possibility of more thunderstorms.

More on this story