Three people were killed and another seriously injured after being struck by lightning outside the White House on Thursday night in Washington, police confirmed Friday. “Two people were pronounced dead after being struck by lightning in Lafayette Square,” a few feet from the White House gates, police said Friday morning.
They are a couple from rural Wisconsin, James Mueller, 76, and Donna Mueller, 75, authorities said. They were on a trip to the US capital to celebrate their 56th wedding anniversary, her niece told the local Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper.
The death of a third victim, a 29-year-old man, was confirmed Friday afternoon by police. The fourth person remained Friday morning “in critical condition,” according to police. white house spokesman Karine Jean Pierreexpressed his condolences to the families of the deceased in a statement this Friday and expressed “his prayers for those who are still fighting for their lives.”
A 1 in a million chance
Lightning struck this Thursday in the public park that borders the residence of the US president a few minutes before 7:00 p.m. (11:00 p.m. GMT). Photos released by firefighters showed dozens of rescue vehicles in the tree-covered plaza as a storm continued to batter Washington.
“As soon as there is lightning, you have to take shelter in a safe place. Trees, of course, are not safe places,” Washington Fire Department spokesman Vito Maggiolo recalled when interviewed by local media.
A Fox webcam, aimed at the White House, was able to film the violent lightning that struck right in front of the building.
The chance of being struck by lightning is 1 in 1 million, according to data from US health authorities.