DHAKA: Two promising teenage cricketers were killed by lightning in Bangladesh Thursday, officials said, as the death toll during the annual monsoon season rose to at least 350.
Scores of people die every year after being struck by lightning during Bangladesh’s wet season, which runs from April to October.
The boys, named by officials as Mohammad Nadim and Mizanur Rahman, were playing football after rain halted their cricket training at a stadium in Gazipur outside the capital Dhaka when they were hit by lightning.
“All of a sudden… lightning struck and I saw three boys collapse on the field,” witness Mohammad Palash told AFP.
“Other players rushed to them and took them to a nearby hospital. Later two of them died.”
A doctor at Shaheed Tajuddin Medical College Hospital, Rafiqul Islam, confirmed the 16-year-olds death from lightning.
Local cricket coach Anwar Hossain Liton said they were promising players preparing for a trial to secure a tournament place, where they could be scouted for national competitions.
Authorities declared lightning a natural disaster after 82 people were killed in a single day in May 2016.
At least 350 have died this year, according to Bangladesh non-profit network Disaster Forum.
Experts say deaths are rising as the impoverished South Asian nation witnesses the increased deforestation of rural areas.