A lightning strike injured 77 soldiers on December 23, 2017 after it struck in a field in the city of Popayán, southwestern Colombia, during military training for the Christmas ceremony. And no thunderstorms were around at that exact time!
On December 23, 2017, soldiers assigned to the Twenty-ninth Brigade were carrying out trials for a military ceremony in Popayán, Colombia, when suddenly, a lightning struck from nowhere and injured 77 soldiers.
#Atención en las últimas horas cayó un rayo seco sobre el campo de paradas de la Brigada 29 de @COL_EJERCITO dejando con saldo parcial 17 soldados regulares heridos. Los afectados están siendo valorados en centros asistenciales. #NoticiaEnDesarrollo CC @FuerzasMilCol
— Mindefensa (@mindefensa) December 23, 2017
The powerful bolt occurred after 3:00 pm in the afternoon, even though it was not raining at that time. The soldiers immediately received first aid from the military health personnel and then were evacuated to different health centers for observation, assessment and medical attention.
? Pedimos al TodoPoderoso la pronta recuperación de nuestros soldados de @Ejercito_div3 que resultaron heridos por descarga eléctrica en el Cantón Militar de Popayán. Solidaridad con sus familias. ¡Fuerza!
— Fuerzas Militares Co (@FuerzasMilCol) December 24, 2017
Most of the soldiers have been burned and some have hearing problems.
The ground around Popayán is known to contain high concentrations of copper, which may also explain why many lightnings reach the Earth.