Latin America & Caribbean

Rio's Christ the Redeemer statue's thumb chipped in storm

The Christ the Redeemer statue surrounded by lightning
The statue's arms have a span of 28m (92 feet)

A lightning strike has damaged a thumb of Rio de Janeiro's famous Christ the Redeemer statue.

The thumb on the right hand of the 38m (125ft) statue was hit during a storm on Thursday night, officials said.

Officials from the Archdiocese of Rio, which manages the statue, told Brazilian media that repairs will be made to the statue soon.

It is visited by nearly two million people every year and in 2010 underwent a $4 million (£2.7m) restoration.

Thursday's storm had one of the highest numbers of lightning strikes recorded in Brazil since the country began monitoring storms in 1999.

The National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) told O Globo that the statue is struck by lightning on average between three and five times a year.

The monument was inaugurated on 12 October 1931 on top of Rio's Mt Corcovado and is considered the largest Art Deco-style sculpture in the world.

Thursday's storm reportedly saw more than 40,000 lightning flashes
Church officials told Brazil's O Globo that the thumb had been struck by lightning before
The statue is one of Brazil's most iconic landmarks

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