An elderly couple died and two others seriously hurt when lightning touched down outside the White House on Thursday in Washington, DC.
The victims were located in Lafayette Park, and according to a spokesperson with the District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, agents from the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Park Police rushed over to render aid before paramedics arrived and took over, Fox Weather reported Friday:
Firefighters reported two men and two women were transported to local hospitals in critical condition. Two of the victims later died Friday morning, according to DC Police. They were identified as a 76-year-old man and 75-year-old woman visiting from Wisconsin. The other two victims are believed to remain in critical condition.
Video footage showed a darkened sky over the White House when moments later, lightning was seen hitting the ground nearby:
UPDATE: 2 dead, 2 critically injured in lightning strikes in front of the White House pic.twitter.com/IVivIeQIfc
— BNO News (@BNONews) August 5, 2022
Officials did not indicate if the White House or grounds were affected by the storm, the Fox report said, adding that Lafayette Park was a popular tourist site.
More video footage showed officials at the scene, and Fox Weather said thunderstorms were in the forecast on Friday for the mid-Atlantic.
The outlet also urged those planning on walking the National Mall to know where to find shelter during such an event:
“Police did not disclose whether the victims were tourists or knew about the incoming storm,” the outlet continued, noting the incident reportedly occurred near the Andrew Jackson statue.
In a social media post Thursday, DC Fire and EMS shared images of first responders at Lafayette Park:
— DC Fire and EMS (@dcfireems) August 4, 2022
Storms moved over the area just before 7:00 p.m., with lightning affecting the center of D.C.
“Lightning kills about 20 people each year in the United States and hundreds more are injured. Some survivors suffer lifelong neurological damage,” according to the National Weather Service’s website.