Lightning Strikes 4 People in Toronto

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | August 5, 2014 5:05 PM EST

Four people were rushed to a hospital in Toronto after they were struck by lightning while taking refuge from the rain under a tree.

The victims were reportedly a family of four, three adults and a 5-year-old child. The incident occurred at Morningside Park in Scarborough on Monday afternoon.

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
An American flag is seen blowing in the wind as lightning brightens raindrops in the sky along Main Street in Port Washington, New York July 3, 2014.

Witnesses said the victims were seeking shelter at a picnic table under an oak tree when it began to rain lightly. This spot was about a kilometre from the park's main entrance off Morningside Ave.

A few moments later, lightning struck the tree.

Paramedics who carried the victims to the hospital around 3:18 pm said the four people suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

"There were four people lying on the ground. Three of them were flailing, trying to get up but couldn't move. The fourth one wasn't moving," witness Conrad Muir told The Hamilton Spectator.

"I saw a big red flash," Muir said. "Scary is an understatement."

Apparently, the place was stricken by two lightning bolts.

The second happened just metres away when EMS arrived. It hit again a nearby willow tree where the lightning bolt surge knocked out the electrical system onboard the ambulance, leaving it stranded.

"I've never seen anything like this and I don't wish to ever see anything like it again," Muir said. "It's no good for the cardiovascular system. Let's put it that way."

Some witnesses got traumatised of the incident.

"It was scary. I've never seen anything like this, and I don't want to see it ever again. People always say: Don't take shelter under trees. I guess you don't think it's going to happen to you."

Toronto EMS deputy commander Evert Steenge said a lightning strike can cause burns and cause electrical disruptions in the body. It can cause damage to a person's heart, brain, and nervous system.

It's a good thing the four stricken people lived through the lightning bolt experience.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton / )
An American flag is seen blowing in the wind as lightning brightens raindrops in the sky along Main Street in Port Washington, New York July 3, 2014.
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