Lightning has killed three Senior Secondary School (SS3) students playing football during rainfall in Awka, the Anambra State capital.

Six others sustained injuries and were rushed to the hospital for treatment.

It was gathered that the lightning struck the nine students who were playing football with their peers barefooted on the school's pitch.

An eyewitness said: "The students were practising on the football pitch with their coach preparatory to a football tournament.

"The coach had ended the training session before the rain started, but some of the students stayed behind to continue playing football.

"Lightning, accompanied by a thunderstorm, suddenly enveloped the area and the boys were struck in the process.

"A teacher heard the students screaming and running. He ran to the field and saw at least nine students trembling and jerking on the turf.

"That was when he raised the alarm and people gathered to help. The boys were immediately rushed to the school clinic, from where they were taken to a hospital in Awka.

"Six of the nine boys were resuscitated and are currently receiving treatment, but three did not survive. Their parents were immediately contacted".

At the hospital in Awka, parents and sympathisers trooped into the ward where the survivors were receiving treatment.

A medical doctor in the hospital confirmed that three out of the nine boys were brought into the hospital dead, but six others were revived.

The eye witness further said: "As of now, parents of two of the dead boys have taken the corpses away, while one is still in the mortuary.

"It is sad that they were playing on the field barefooted. If they had boots on, the impact of the lightning would probably have been minimized,''

A Consultant Pathologist at the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Awka, Prof Chukwudi Okani said it was a natural disaster.

According to Okani, lightning could kill by electrocution through direct strike, side splash or ground current strike.

He advised that people should install thunder arrestors in their buildings to stave off electrical currents in the event of lightning.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, said the incident had not been reported to the police.