Two dead, five hurt by lightning strike

Two dead, five hurt by lightning strike
LUCKY: Mr Elavalagan (third from left) survived a lightning strike which killed two of his friends (inset), Mr V. Sivaperumal (left) and Mr N. Arumugam.

A pair of safety boots probably saved factory worker S. Elavalagan from a lightning strike that killed two of his friends in Ladang Batu Kawan, Penang.

The 45-year-old said he was still wearing his boots as he had just finished work before attending a funeral nearby with six friends last Friday, reported Malaysia's The Star.

"We were on our way home on our motorcycles when it began to rain heavily and we decided to take shelter at a temple," he said at the scene of the incident on Saturday.

"We were chatting when, suddenly, there was a loud bang. I felt a tingling sensation and my right arm went numb," he added.

Mr Elavalagan said his friends, who were sitting on a low wall, fell to the ground.

"One was already lifeless. I tried giving him CPR but it did not work.

"We did not know the extent of our injuries until we arrived at the hospital. There were burns all over our bodies," he said.

Mr N. Arumugam, 42, and Mr V. Sivaperumal, 56, died on the spot, while Mr S. Gunasegaran, 44, suffered serious injuries and was warded at the Penang Hospital.

His other friends, Mr S. Muruges, 44, Mr S. Ananthan, 40, and Mr M. Mutukumar, 32, suffered light injuries and were warded at Sungai Bakap Hospital for observation. Mr Elavalagan only suffered minor injuries.

Mr Sivaperumal's son, Mr Kathiravan, 33, told the media, he last saw his father at the funeral at about 4pm.

SHOCKED

"On my way home, I saw fire engines and a crowd gathering, and I saw a friend's car parked nearby.

"I thought my friend had been involved in an accident, so I stopped to check.

"I was shocked to see my father lying on the car passenger seat. I called out his name, but there was no response.

"A paramedic told me that my father had died," he said, sobbing.

Friends and relatives gathered at Mr Arumugam's house to pay their last respects. He leaves behind a wife, three sons and a daughter.

Also present was Batu Kawan Village Security and Development Committee chairman G. Dumany, who said the temple was built when estate workers from India were brought to Malaysia to work in plantations.

He said Bukit Tambun assemblyman Law Choo Kiang gave RM1,000 (S$370) to each of the dead men's families and RM500 to each of the injured.


This article was first published on APRIL 14, 2015.
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