11 People Killed By Lightning Strike While Taking Selfies at Tourist Site

At least 11 people died after they were struck by lightning while reportedly taking selfies at a popular tourist attraction in Jaipur, India.

The victims, believed to be mostly young people, were confirmed by authorities shortly after the incident on Sunday evening.

"So far, 11 people have died while another 11-12 persons are injured," Jaipur Police Commissioner Anand Srivastava told The Indian Express.

The lightning struck a watchtower opposite the Amer Fort, a 12th Century palace and popular tourist attraction, around 7.30 pm Sunday.

Amer fort India
The lightning struck a watchtower at Amer Fort in Rajasthan, Amer, India, during a thunderstorm on Sunday evening. Eric Lafforgue/Getty Images

"Nine bodies were found on the spot after the accident," Amer police station SHO Shivnarayan told the news outlet. "The watch tower was situated on the opposite side of the Amer Fort and most of those dead are youngsters."

Those present in the tower at the time included tourists as well as locals, Assistant Commissioner of Police Amer Saurabh Tiwari told the publication.

Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot, described the loss of lives as "very sad and unfortunate" in a tweet on Monday. "My deepest condolences to the families of the affected, may God give them strength," he added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also announced 200,000 rupees, or ($2,682) as compensation for the families of those who have died, and 50,000 rupees ($670) to the injured, as reported by his office on Monday.

The Prime Minister was briefed about the loss of lives and damages due to lightning in parts of Uttar Pradesh. An ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh each from PMNRF would be given to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs. 50,000 would be given to the injured.

— PMO India (@PMOIndia) July 12, 2021

Another nine victims were reported to have died by lightning across the state on Sunday. One death was reported in Baran, another in Jhalawar, four deaths in Kota and three in Dholpur districts.

Seven of those killed were children, according to local media reports.

India is currently in the midst of the monsoon season, which sees heavy rains from June to September.

Lightning strikes kill nearly 2,000 people every year, according to the Hindustan Times.

Deaths by lightning strikes have doubled since the late 1960s, according to data from the India Meteorological Department.

"Between 1995 and 2014, we saw a jump of nearly 30-40 percent in lightning incidents in India. The number of deaths has also increased significantly between the 1990s and now," SD Pawar, project director thunderstorm dynamics, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, told the publication.

Lightning strike
File photo: Lightning strikes during a storm overt Port-au-Prince, Haiti. A lightning strike in Jaipur in northern India killed at least 11 people and injured many more on Sunday. CHANDAN KHANNA/Getty Images