The day started so well, but ended with a tragedy for others and nearly for us.

My family and I are spending the summer in Germany. This weekend we went to the old Roman village of Xanten and had a lovely time at the big Roman Festival there. Thousands come from all over Germany and the Netherlands to attend. There were impressive displays of how the Romans made weapons, cooked, wove cloth, built walls, etc. They had armies of soldiers in different kinds of uniforms and showed the use of a cross bow and catapult, the kids were thrilled.

At 3 in the old amphitheater there was a live show, and we, along with thousands of others, packed into the amphitheater. A storm was brewing and thunder and lightning started, but we really wanted to see the show so we stayed. Then the storm got serious and the rain started pouring down hard. We ran out of the amphitheater and looked for shelter. But because this is an outdoor museum there was very little shelter to be had, and thousands of people were seeking it. We finally found our way to the overhang just outside of a large bathroom. The bathroom itself was packed full and we took up the last dry space under the overhang.
Many others who had no place dry to go in the storm sought shelter under trees. The storm at this point was really very strong. Suddenly there was the loudest clap of thunder I have ever heard and a huge flash of light. A grounp of people who were just next to the bathroom, about 10 yards from us, under a tree were hit by lightning. There was screaming and people running in all directions.
The next bit of time is a blur, but there were so many ambulances and emergency helicopters. 13 people were injured, 4 critically, and one has died so far. We are all fine, but the kids are pretty freaked out. My husband is beating himself us because he was annoyed with me for sheltering in the bathroom when he was wanting us to just get under a tree. I’m sure he’ll never suggest that again.
So when you see a thunderstorm is imminent, take it seriously and get to safety when lightning comes.

You sure got lucky. The bathroom overhang really was only a rain barrier. The lightning could have gotten you there. I hope you remember that when you want to do a I told you so later. Inside the bathroom would be a bit more protected.

I’m not so sure. If lightning had hit the bathroom, what would have happened to us?

I mean, it was a permanent bathroom building, with a cement floor, electricity and permanent plumming. Wouldn’t the lightning have traveled through the pipes and not impacted those on it’s cement floor? I don’t really know, but weren’t we safer there than in the open?

I would have loved to be inside the bathroom itself, but it was packed tight with dozens of scared people and there was no more room.

By the way, if you google Xanten in the news part of google, there are now 326 articles about the lightning strike (most in German). That’s all I can do for my cite.

Gee, I seem to recall something about not standing under a tree during storms.:smack:

Of course it’s a bad idea, but there really weren’t a lot of alternatives. The storm came on quickly and there weren’t enough proper buildings to shelter in. There were better choices they could have made, but it’s not like they were right next to a large available building and chose to stand under the trees just out of stupidity.

It’s not just a “bad idea”. Standing under trees isn’t any kind of alternative – trees attract lightning.

I’m not trying to start a pile on, but just in case there’s anyone out there who doesn’t get it, it bears repeating.

If there’s no shelter, the experts recommend crouching into a ball, making yourself as small a target as possible.

No trees!!

And now the blame game has started. Is the facility to blame for not cancelling the performance once it was clear a storm was coming? Did they have the responsibility for making announcements? Did they need to have adequate shelter available for all?

In the US there would already be a lawsuit pending, but I’m not sure if it will work that way here.

I don’t mean to harp on your husband (it sounds like he’s pretty guilt ridden for the tree idea in the first place), but I couldn’t help noticing you are from Tucson - where you get those summer thunderstorms (with big time lightning) REGULARLY.
Of all people, you should be well aware of the dangers of electrical storms and where to seek shelter, and where not. These storms are a regular occurance in your area !