KEY POINTS

  • Four people were killed and three more were injured when lightning struck them outside a temple in India's Madhya Pradesh state
  • Another two in the same state were killed when they were struck while on a search for their buffaloes
  • The incidents occurred as cyclone Tauktae passed through India, leaving many missing and stranded

Lightning strikes in the city of Satna in India's Madhya Pradesh state killed six people and injured three more in two separate incidents that occurred as cyclone Tauktae bombarded the country's west coast with strong winds and heavy rains.

Police said four people were killed and three more were injured after lightning struck them outside a temple in Badera, the Times of India first reported, citing Satna police superintendent Dharmvir Singh Yadav. According to Yadav, the victims were sitting on a chabutra — or platform — when the incident took place.

Two more people up north in the village of Kailashpur met the same fate when they were struck and killed by lightning. Police said the two were out in search of their buffaloes in the middle of a thunderstorm when they died.

Indian authorities have recorded deaths in the states of Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Gujarat ever since Tauktae made landfall late Monday in the latter state, CNN reported. The storm, which is the strongest ever recorded to hit India's west coast, has killed at least 40 people and left many missing and stranded at sea.

The military has been conducting search and rescue operations for three days as Tauktae's strong winds and heavy rains caused flooding and destruction in the low-lying coastal regions.

A barge operated by India's Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) sank in an offshore oilfield Monday due to the cyclone, with the navy rescuing 188 out of the 261 crew members as of Thursday. According to a navy spokesperson, 26 bodies were recovered from the barge and 47 more personnel remain missing.

The navy said late Tuesday that it will continue the search and rescue operations despite the "extremely challenging circumstances," using helicopters and other naval assets. Three warships have already been deployed to rescue those aboard the ONGC barge as well as those from two more barges, the BBC reported.

The cyclone hit India as the country attempts to handle a COVID-19 outbreak. Data from Johns Hopkins University showed that the country has had nearly 26 million cases and close to 290,000 deaths.

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Representation. The incidents occured as cyclone Tauktae ravaged through India's west coast. Pixabay
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