Congo paper: entire soccer team killed by lighting bolt during game

(Correction: A reader had sent me the linked article, and I missed its date: 1998. Still, it’s such a remarkable story that I will leave it up, and maybe we’ll find out if it really happened.)

But the details are sketchy. The story says the lighting hit during a match, when the score was tied 1-1. This doesn’t make sense. Soccer players are spread all over the field, with the players of the two teams mixed together. How could all the players of one team be killed, and none of the players of the other team? This is too strange, and I would not accept it as true until there is a fuller report on it.

Lightning kills football team
Lightning also struck a match in South Africa

All 11 members of a football team were killed by a bolt of lightning which left the other team unhurt, a Congolese newspaper has reported.

Thirty other people received burns at the match in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Kinshasa daily newspaper L’Avenir said local opinion—known to believe in charms and spells—was divided over whether someone had cursed the team.

The two sides were drawing 1-1 in the match in eastern Kasai Province when the lightning struck the visiting team.

“The athletes from [the home team] Basanga curiously came out of this catastrophe unscathed,” the paper said.

There was no official confirmation of the report—a rebel war affects much of the east of the country.

In a similar incident at the weekend, a premier league soccer match in Johannesburg was brought to an abrupt end when lightning struck the ground.

Half the players from both teams—the Jomo Cosmos and the Moroka Swallows—dropped to the turf.

Several writhed on the grass holding their ears and their eyes. Spectators and coaching staff ran onto the pitch to help. Fortunately no-one was killed.

- end of initial entry -

Al H. writes:

Something seemed familiar about the Congolese Soccer story then when I searched it saw it was from 1998.

James S. writes:

Lawrence, Very bizarre story. I read somewhere a guess that one team was wearing metal spikes and the other plastic cleats and that the electricity was able to travel throughout the field because it was wet. Also, note the story is from 1998.

LA writes:

Here, here, and here are other articles on this story.
John P. writes:

This definitely happened. It was featured on the Urban Legends TV series and was confirmed as true. It was because one team had steel cleats and the others had plastic cleats.

As others have noted, a very bizarre story.

The reader who originally sent the story writes:

Sorry about the old soccer/lightning story - it had been posted as new news, missed the date.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 10, 2010 10:52 AM | Send

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