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Form Four student killed by lightning

A FORM Four girl student at Kabugaro Secondary School in Bukoba Rural District’s Nyakato Ward died instantly after she was struck by lightning during a heavy downpour Thursday morning.

The Medical Officer in-charge at the Bukoba Regional Referral Hospital, Dr Mseleta Nyakiloto identified the deceased as Gissela Oswald (18), a Form Four student at Kabugaro Secondary School in Bukoba Rural District.

“Heavy rain accompanied by strong winds and lightning struck and killed one student identified as Gissela Oswald. A postmortem report indicated that she died of severe burns due to lightning,” he said.

The Head Master of the school, Lucas Kajuna said the incident happened at around 9.00 a.m. in the morning as students were attending morning classes. A teacher identified as Charles Alfonce also sustained minor injuries.

He was rushed to Bukoba Regional Referral Hospital where he received treatment and was later discharged. According to Mr Kajuna, this is the first such incident to happen at the school.

Meanwhile, Bukoba District Commissioner (DC) Deodatus Kinawiro has directed authorities in Bukoba District Council to allocate funds to set up lightning arresters at public buildings that are often affected by lightning.

He issued the directive while also sending his condolences to the bereaved family of the student who was struck and killed by lightning.

A few weeks ago, about 22 pupils at Kalema Primary School in Bukoba Rural district were injured by lightning during classes. However, there were no casualties.

Mr Kinawiro commended the Bukoba Municipal Council that had already set up lightning arresters on several buildings.

“Most people in Kagera Region have a myth that lightning never strikes the same place twice. This belief has been around for so long it’s been turned into a popular idiom. Too bad, because it’s simply not true. Lightning can strike multiple times in the same place, especially if that place is really tall and pointy,” he said.

About 14 people were killed in Kagera Region between 2010 to August 15, last year after they were struck by lightning.

Last year a bolt of lightning struck near Kimuli Secondary School in Kyerwa District, killing two students and injuring at least eight others.

On June 9, 2017, six people all from the same family died on the spot when their house was struck by lightning at Kihinga village in Kaisho/Murongo division, in Kyerwa District.

He said that if you’re riding in a car during a thunderstorm, you should avoid leaning on the doors because they contain parts that can draw in electricity from outside the vehicle, adding that some people also have the myth that if it’s not raining or there aren’t clouds overhead, you’re safe from lightning.

“The fact is that the most important thing people should know is that if they hear thunder, they are within striking distance of lightning. And most people misjudge how far they are away from a storm,” he said.

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