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British Tourist Killed by Lightning Strike in Rhodes, Greece

A British tourist was killed by lightning in Rhodes, Greece. credit: Raychel Sanner / pexels CC0

On Monday, a British tourist was struck by lightning and killed on the Greek island of Rhodes.

According to reports, the 26-year-old man was swimming at around 14:00 during a thunderstorm. The tourist ignored the advice of other swimmers to exit the water and was struck by lightning and killed.

Fatalities caused by lightning are rare, although certain factors can increase the odds that one is struck. Water conducts electricity and lightning is more likely to strike water than land, which is why swimming during a thunderstorm is ill-advised.

Tourist struck by lightning and killed in Rhodes, Greece

According to British media reports, the 26-year-old tourist was in the sea in the Agia Agathi area of Rhodes when he was struck by lightning and killed.

The local emergency services on the island rushed to the scene and he was taken to the Archangelos Health Centre. However, despite their efforts, the first responders and medical professionals were unable to save him.

There are conflicting media reports as to whether the tourist was swimming or paddleboarding in the sea when he was killed.

Eye-witness reports

Brazilian Wander Machado, a 47-year-old who plays for the local Agios Georgios Malonas football team,  made an effort to rescue the British tourist.

Speaking to the Greek publication Rodiaki, Machado shared, “Once I approached him, I noticed he was submerged in the water with his face downward, and there were visible marks on his face.”

‘I immediately knew that every second was crucial and started pulling him to the shore,” he added. ‘I was worried that the same thing would happen to me as it was still raining but I didn’t stop.

Lightning strikes in Greece

The death of the British man visiting Rhodes on Monday will shock many but thankfully fatalities caused by lightning strikes are relatively rare. Nevertheless, such incidents do happen, and caution should be taken during extreme weather events like thunderstorms.

During an incident in 2020, a woman was struck and killed by lightning on the island of Skopelos whilst she was working on her farm.

According to a statistical analysis conducted by scholars from the University of Patras, between 2010 and 2019, there were a total of 23 deaths caused by lightning strikes in Greece.

This means, that during the period of study, spanning just under a decade, there was an average of 2.3 victims per year. The study also noted that 91% of all deaths occurred between the months of May and September.

These findings align with the information provided by the Hellenic National Meteorological Service and the recordings from the High Voltage Laboratory, which confirm that the most intense thunderstorms occur during this particular season.

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