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Monday 9 December 2019

Lightning strike: Father and son (5) fight for their lives after incident outside school

Victim George Allen
Victim George Allen

Cate McCurry

Eyewitnesses have described the terrifying moment when a father and his young children were struck by lightning as he collected them from school.

George Allen (37) and his five-year-old son Geordie were last night fighting for their lives after the freak incident.

His seven-year-old daughter Georgia was also seriously injured but is in a stable condition.

Mr Allen was collecting his children from Killowen Primary School, Lisburn, at around 2.30pm when he was hit by a bolt of lightning just metres away from their family car as he walked across a car park.

School staff gave emergency medical assistance, with the vice principal using a defibrillator on Mr Allen as they waited for the emergency services to arrive.

Mr Allen was rushed to Lagan Valley Hospital but was later transferred to the Ulster Hospital where he remained in a critical condition last night.

The scene of the lightning strike at Killowen Primary School in Lisburn, Co Antrim Photo: PA
The scene of the lightning strike at Killowen Primary School in Lisburn, Co Antrim Photo: PA

His children were taken to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Belfast.

His son was described as critically ill by health officials.

Children at the school, who had enjoyed their annual sports day earlier, were immediately evacuated from the car park and taken to neighbouring Laurelhill Community College to keep them away from the traumatic scene.

Parents were told there had been an accident and that children should be collected immediately.

Richard Bradley, who arrived at the school just moments after the ambulance, described how the storm continued to rage overhead as paramedics treated Mr Allen and his children.

He said: "I could see the storm overhead and there was very, very heavy rain.

"There were huge flashes of lightning. It was really very frightening."

One witness said he believed Mr Allen was on his mobile phone at the time the lightning bolt hit.

SDLP Lisburn Councillor Pat Catney said that the local community is stunned following the incident.

Councillor Catney said: "This is an absolute tragedy. My thoughts are with the man and his son who have been taken to different hospitals in a critical condition. I also understand that the man’s daughter has been taken to the Royal Hospital where she too is seriously ill.

"There’s no preparing for an incident of this nature. I want to put on the record my sincere appreciation for the speed with which the ambulance service responded as well as the great efforts of teachers and parents to make the area safe for other children at the school.

"My prayers and the prayers of this entire community are with the family at this very difficult time."

Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson said: "From what I'm hearing the situation is pretty grim and our thoughts and prayers are with the family. it must be devastating news to be told that three of your loved ones have been struck down in such a cruel way and we can only hope that there is a recovery from this in every sense of the word.

In a statement, Killowen school principal Fiona Douglas said the thoughts of the school community were with the family.

Irish Independent

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