Schoolboy, 12, killed and five injured after being struck by lightning while playing football

A schoolboy was killed and five others injured after lightning connected with the lad’s metal belt buckle while he was playing football. Kitsanaphon Jansri, 12, was training with friends on Tuesday (March 30) for a tournament at the Yaowaret Witthaya School in Surat Thani province, southern Thailand. A thunderstorm approached followed by heavy rain shortly before 6pm and teachers called them back inside the building. However, Kitsanaphon and his friends continued playing football until a bolt of lightning tore down from the sky and struck the field. Moments later a second strike hit the group of boys, sending them flying to different directions when the electricity struck Kitsanaphon and connected with his metal belt buckle. Onlookers rushed onto the field to save them and noticed that Kitsanaphon’s belt was seared. The metal on his waist is believed to have acted as a conductor for the electricity. Doctors battled to save Kitsanaphon who was the most severely injured but he was later pronounced dead. A second boy was treated in intensive care after medics found an irregular heartbeat while the others suffered from dizziness or inability to hear clearly. Kitsanaphon’s father Suphon Jansri said: ‘When teachers told me that my son was struck by lightning, I didn’t think he would pass away. They told me to prepare myself for the worst when I went to see him. My boy was burnt so badly. His poor soul could not stand the pain. ‘He loved football. It was his favourite thing in the world. We used to watch the Premiere League together. I just still cannot believe he died like this.’ Associate Professor Dr. Weerachai Phutdhawong at Kasetsart Univeristy said: ‘The belt buckle was possibly not the direct cause. It was the boy himself as the negative lightning bolt was drawn to a positively charged ion and targeted the tallest object in the open space.’ Surat Thani governor Wichawut Jinto visited the school to support the schoolboy’s family. He said: ‘The province was experiencing thunderstorms caused by low pressure. People should be careful while doing outdoor activities during storms.’