Woman killed by lightning strike while cycling in west Germany

Woman killed by lightning strike while cycling in west Germany
Two bolts of lightning strike in Marl, North Rhine-Westphalia in 2016. Photo: DPA
A 73-year-old woman was struck by lightning and killed in the western city of Aachen.

The woman was riding her bike in the outskirts of the city, and was evidently caught off guard by the thunderstorm, according to a police spokesperson.  

Her body was then discovered by a passerby under a tree on Monday evening.

The fire department reported that the surge of electricity had caused the bike chain to melt. When emergency responders arrived, they could not do anything but declare her dead.

The incident comes after warm weather triggered thunderstorms in several parts of Germany on Monday night, going into Tuesday.

According to the Rheinische Post, the Ruhr area also experienced hail, with a fire department spokesperson saying storms were “very noisy, there was heavy rain and hail.”

The German Weather Service (DWD) issued weather warnings for heavy storms around Hamburg, and in Bremen two basements were flooded, according to Spiegel. Heavy rain also swept across Franconia. 

According to the DWD, on Tuesday the east will also be affected by thunderstorms. 

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Spiegel also reports that dying by lightning strike is very rare, noting that according to the Federal Statistical Office, just 277 people were killed by lightning in Germany between 1980 and 2014. This is around eight people per year.