More than 30 people have been injured after lightning struck a children’s football match in western Germany.
Three adults have been seriously injured in the incident in the town of Hoppstadten on Saturday, including the 45-year-old referee who suffered cardiac arrest after being hit directly by the lightning, said police.
The man had to be revived by onlookers and a doctor at the scene.
All 29 of the children, aged between nine and 11, who had taken part in the local team match, were taken to nearby hospitals as “a purely precautionary measure,” police said in a statement.
A spectator was also taken to hospital as a precaution.
The game had just finished when the lightning struck suddenly at around 2pm, police spokesman Dominik Lentz told n-tv television.
"According to what everyone present says, there were no clouds in the sky ... so this incident couldn't have been expected," he said.
Heavy storms have brought torrential rain, lightning, hail and flooding to many areas across Europe, with some storms proving fatal.
In southern Poland a man in his forties was killed after being struck by lightning while walking on the Babia Gora mountain, according to local media.
Three others were injured by lightning in the region and a 61-year-old man drowned in floodwaters, according to TVN24 television and PAP news agency.
In Paris, 11 people, eight of them children, were injured when lightning struck as they were celebrating a birthday party in Parc Monceau in the city's northwest.
Professor Pierre Carli, director of Necker hospital in Paris, said one child is on life support and three other seriously injured children are out of immediate danger and under observation.
Four other children who were lightly wounded by the lightning strike are "simply under observation".
All the children at the party were aged between seven and eight years old.
Michel Daloz of weather agency Meteo-France told AFP it is possible for large groups of people to be struck by lightning at once by “what we call the 'lightning rod effect’”.
Victims of lightning strikes can suffer lasting cardiological and neurological effects, Mr Daloz said.
Additional reporting by agencies
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