14 teenagers injured by lightning at Dutch military base

One youngster has been seriously injured and 13 slightly hurt after being hit by lightning at a military training camp on heathland near Ossendrecht in Noord-Brabant on Wednesday morning.

The teenagers, aged 16 to 18, were attending a three-day pre-military training event as part of the their school programme. One was taken to hospital by air ambulance to Antwerp with serious injuries, officials said. The others had light injuries and were taken to hospital for a check up.

The youngsters were hit by lighting during an exercise to secure an area of heath within the training zone. ‘We are currently looking into exactly what exercises they were involved in and why the decision was taken to stay outside,’ a spokesman for the military police said.

The lightning hit at around 8.30am and the KNMI weather bureau had issued a code yellow weather warning for Brabant and Zeeland in the morning, stating there was a serious risk of thunderstorms.

Defence minister Ank Bijleveld said on Twitter that the priority now is to ensure good care for the injured teens.

The storm also led at least three fires – one in the thatched roof of a farmhouse in Waspik and the others in Zeeland and Spijkernisse.

More storms, with hail and thunder, are forecast for Wednesday afternoon.

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