A sudden and powerful thunder storm over Norway’s southernmost coast struck hard and quickly on Monday afternoon, injuring 13 students who were taking part in an outdoors assignment on an island off Kristiansand. Their injuries set off a major emergency operation.
“We heard thunder rolling but thought it was far away,” one student, 16-year-old Ådne Ausland, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). He and classmates from a local high school were on the island of Dvergsøya and ready to throw fishing nets into the water when lightning struck hard and fast.
“There was a huge noise and a powerful burst of light all at once,” Ausland said. “The ground shook.”
Ida Aurebekk saw several fellow students literally struck by the lightning. They weren’t hurled to the ground and remained conscious, but she said they were all badly frightened and felt the same sharp pains at the back of their heads.
“It was really scary,” Aurebekk said. The students’ teacher, Nina Berg, also said the lightning literally struck with a bang, and several students reported feeling an electric shock run through their arms and legs.
Berg didn’t want to take any chances, and called for emergency help, which came swiftly in the form of an ambulance boat and police. Thirteen of the 78 students on the island were taken to a local hospital for medical checks. The field trip was cancelled.
The lightning and thunder followed another spate of torrential rain in southern Norway that flooded streets and cellars in many areas. Norway has been experiencing much more wild and wet weather this year, following a record hot summer.