Northern Ireland news

Lightning strike father and son still ‘fighting for lives' in hospital

A man and two children were rushed to hospital after a lightning strike outside Killowen Primary School in Lisburn. Picture by Matt Bohill
John Monaghan

A MAN and his son remained in a critical condition on Tuesday night after being struck by lightning as they left a school in Co Antrim.

The man's daughter was described as being in a stable condition late on Tuesday after also being caught up in the freak accident.

The father, named locally as George Allen (37), was collecting his five-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter from Killowen Primary School in Lisburn when the lightning struck just before 2pm on Tuesday.

It happened as parents were arriving to pick up children from the school.

Other pupils were rushed into nearby Laurelhill Community College for safety as soon as the incident occurred.

The Ambulance Service said paramedics arrived on the scene within seven minutes, while a police cordon remained in place for most of the afternoon.

It was being reported on Tuesday night that Mr Allen had to be resuscitated at the scene, and was due to be moved to an intensive care unit.

The children were being treated at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.

DUP councillor Jonathan Craig, who is on the board of governors at the school, which has around 400 pupils, said that it had deeply affected "a very tight knit community."

Mr Craig told The Irish News: "Some of the staff witnessed it and the principal and vice-principal came to attend to them. They organised the rest of the children and moved them.

"I understand that the Education Authority is to put a plan in place with the school to help all those who have witnessed it and how they will deal with the trauma."

Killowen Primary School principal Fiona Douglas said: "I can confirm that a parent and two children were injured outside the school’s main gate this afternoon.

"School staff and parents attended to the injured family until the arrival of the emergency services.

"Following this all other pupils, accompanied by staff, went safely to nearby Laurel Hill Community College where they were collected by parents."

Ms Douglas added: "The thoughts of the entire school community are with the family at this time."

SDLP Lisburn councillor Pat Catney has said the community is stunned following the lightning strike.

He said: “This is an absolute tragedy. My thoughts are with the man and his son who have been taken to different hospitals in a critical condition.

"I also understand that the man’s daughter has been taken to the Royal Hospital where she too is seriously ill. 

“There’s no preparing for an incident of this nature. I want to put on the record my sincere appreciation for the speed with which the ambulance service responded as well as the great efforts of teachers and parents to make the area safe for other children at the school.

“My prayers and the prayers of this entire community are with the family at this very difficult time.”

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