42 Cows Killed by Lightning Strike That Also Hit Farmer

A farmer in southern China lost 42 cows when he and his cattle herd were struck by lightning during a thunderstorm on Monday.

Officials in the town of Sanjia, which is in Dongfang in the Chinese province of Hainan, said the victim was knocked unconscious by the bolt of electricity, but he was not in any life-threatening condition.

Footage circulating on Chinese social media sites showed villagers and local government officials surveying the farm following the freak weather incident. The lifeless brown cattle can be seen scattered across the field while survivors remain cooped up nearby.

The animals were reportedly found rigid and bleeding following the incident, reports said.

The farmer, who was not named, began herding his cows into a rudimentary shed during Monday's violent storm. But more than 40 remained outside when the lightning struck, killing a majority of them, according to Shanghai news portal The Paper.

A spokesperson for the Dongfang Agriculture and Rural Affairs Bureau said the farmer suffered no serious injuries after being hit, but it was unclear whether he required any medical attention.

Local government officials inspected the aftermath of the incident and ruled out poisoning or disease as the cause. Their preliminary investigation pointed to electrocution as the most likely cause of death, said The Paper.

The spokesperson added: "During our survey of the area, we found that the cow shed had metallic components. We've advised the farmer to swap them out for wood."

"The agricultural office will conduct a follow-up examination of the cattle," he added, without elaborating. It was unclear how the carcasses would be dealt with.

According to The Paper, a Sanjia town official revealed seven calves were among the cattle lost during the incident. The farmer is now selling the remainder of his cows to cut his losses, the official said.

Another town spokesperson told Phoenix Television on Tuesday that the farmer's cattle was not insured.

"The local government has intervened following much concern from many sectors. We will do what we can to assist him based on existing compensation policies," he added.

The Dongfang Meteorological Bureau issued a yellow warning for thunderstorms forecast for around 3 p.m. local time Monday, records show. The storm was predicted to include winds measuring between 7 and 9 on the Beaufort scale, the latter being the equivalent of a "strong gale."

The freak accident appeared similar to one recorded in Macon County, Alabama, earlier in May, when a farmer lost 15 cows during a lightning strike amid severe weather.

China Cows Herded Through Inner Mongolia
This photo taken on September 10, 2020, shows herders looking after cows along a road in Tongliao in China's northern Inner Mongolia region. A farmer in southern China lost 42 cows when he and his cattle herd were struck by lightning during a thunderstorm. NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images