Four helicopters were involved in the rescue
Four helicopters were involved in the rescue
Four people have been killed and more than 30 injured when lighting struck different locations in Poland's Tatra Mountains, a spokeswoman for the country's air ambulance service says.

Lightning hit a group of tourists on Giewont, a 1,894-metre mountain, after a sunny morning turned stormy, according to witnesses quoted on private broadcaster TVN24. The peak is a popular trekking destination in southern Poland.

Comment: RT further reports that one thunderbolt struck the cross, travelled down the chains holding it in place then hit the group of 25 tourists.
"We heard that after [the] lightning struck, people fell... the current then continued along the chains securing the ascent, striking everyone along the way. It looked bad," Jan Krzysztof, head of the TOPR Tatra volunteer search and rescue service said.

Four people, including two children, were killed in Poland and a Czech tourist was killed by the same storm in neighboring Slovakia. Some 150 people were treated for burns, fractures, and heart problems, 34 of whom remain in hospital as of Friday afternoon. Three people are missing.

The Tatras are the highest mountains in Poland, and Thursday's lightning storm was the region's worst since August 1937 when lightning strikes killed four people on the Giewont peak.

Kinga Czerwinska, an air ambulance service spokeswoman, said some of the injured were brought by helicopter to the hospital in Zakopane, in the Tatras, while others were taken elsewhere.

Witnesses said the thunderstorm came suddenly on a day that began with clear weather.

"We have a very severe situation," the head of TOPR, Poland's voluntary mountain rescue organisation, was quoted as saying by another broadcaster, state TVP Info.

Tourists climbing Giewont in Poland often aim to end their trip at the top, where a 15-metre iron cross was installed in 1901. The cross is said to attract lightning.

Other victims were hurt in different parts of the mountains, which spread over 57 kilometres in southern Poland. Four helicopters and a number of rescuers were still working helping victims, TVP Info said.

More than two dozen rescuers were already trying to save two cavers trapped in Poland's Tatras, after a tunnel flooded and blocked their exit.

Initial reports suggested children were among the group struck by lightning.

Sources: AP, Reuters