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Saturday 19 April 2014

Lightning strikes Rio de Janeiro Jesus statue

The iconic statue of Christ overlooking Rio de Janeiro has been struck by lightening during a violent storm.

Officials confirmed on Friday the right thumb suffered damaged from the storm. Incredible pictures captured the moment lightning hit the 125-foot (38 meter) statue on Thursday evening.

The powerful lightning and rain storm swept across the city, flooding streets and knocking out power in some neighbourhoods.

The middle finger of the right hand had also been chipped during a storm last month. The statue sits atop a steep mountain and is often hit by strikes.

It underwent a $4m renovation in 2010 to repair badly eroded parts of its face and hands.

The statue is managed by the Archdiocese of Rio. Father Omar Raposo told Globo Radio repairs will soon be carried out.

He says the church has a stock of the same stone originally used to build the statue, which was erected in 1931.

Lightning bolts strike through the sky near Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, late Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014.  A violent lightning and rain storm swept across Rio de Janeiro, flooding streets and knocking out power in some neighborhoods. (AP Photo/Renata Brito)
Lightning bolts strike through the sky near Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The statue also suffered damage in April 2010 when the arms head and chest were covered in spray painted graffiti, in an act Rio's mayor described as a "crime against the nation." The perpetrators used the scaffolding erected during the renovation to scale the statue and vandalise it.

The vandals sprayed sentences such as "when the cat's away, the rats will play," as well as references to residents who were killed in recent and unsolved crimes.

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