Tragedy as lightning bolt strikes and kills 2 teenage girls

File pic

Tragedy strikes Ulutho Village as lightning claims lives of two teenage girls

Ulutho village in the Gwamba area of Lupane is reeling from the devastating loss of two young lives in a fatal lightning strike last Wednesday. The incident has left their families and the entire community in deep mourning.

Sarah Sibanda (13) had reportedly ordered four young relatives out of their bedroom hut just moments before the strike that killed her, so that she and her cousin could change their clothes after being drenched by rain while walking back home.

The lightning strike also claimed the life of Bongiwe Tshuma (14), while 12-year-old girl Precious Sibanda was lucky to survive after being “mysteriously thrown’ out of the hut, according to Sarah’s mother, Mrs Mlibazisi Sibanda.

Sarah was laid to rest on Saturday, while Bongiwe will be buried in Plumtree when her parents arrive from South Africa where they are based.

A heart-broken Mrs Sibanda said although the family is grieving the death of the two teenagers, they are also comforted by the fact that Sarah had ordered the other four kids out of the hut, as the lightning bolt could likely have killed them all.

“The girls had come from a Women’s Day event hosted by a non-governmental organisation at the local shops and got wet from the rains that fell in the village on the day,” Mrs Sibanda told the Chronicle at the homestead.

“They wanted to change clothes and Sarah then ordered the little ones out of the hut.

“A few minutes later, the hut was struck by lightning. We could have lost all the children.

Mrs Mlibazisi Sibanda points to rubble from a hut that was struck by lightning

“Precious said she was thrown out of the house before the lightning struck, and all she remembers is seeing the hut on fire while lying outside,” she said.

Precious did not sustain any injuries and is back at school.

The hut was razed to the ground by a raging fire after the lightning strike.

Sarah’s father, Mr Sihona Sibanda, narrated how he and neighbours destroyed a section of the wall to retrieve the bodies of the teenage girls to prevent them from being burnt to ashes.

“The hut where the children were struck by lightning belongs to my son, and Bongiwe is my granddaughter, while Sarah is my last born child. As I ran to my son’s homestead, I knew that the girls were already dead,” he said.

“No one survives such a lightning strike in the hut. Precious was lying outside, screaming for help and calling Sarah and Bongiwe to get out of the hut.

“The door was on fire, so I started destroying the wall with a pick. We managed to pull out the bodies of the children through the destroyed wall. I have never seen such a horrific scene in my life. I’m so heartbroken,” said Mr Sibanda.

The family lost everything that was in the hut, including identity documents, blankets and food.

Matabeleland North provincial police spokesman, Inspector Glory Banda, could not be drawn to comment on the incident, saying his office was yet to officially get a report of what transpired.

Meanwhile, the family is appealing for assistance with clothing, food and blankets, as all they had were destroyed in the fire.

They can be reached on 0775013365.

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