Twelve others were also injured
At least 16 people, including seven members of the same family, were killed and 12 others injured after lightning struck a wedding reception in Shibganj upazila of Chapainawabganj.
The deceased were identified as Jamila, 58, Tabjul, 70, Sadal Ali, 35, Rafiqul, 60, Lechon, 50, Sajib, 22, Toki Begum, 30, Alam, 45, Pachu, 40, Sahabul, 30, Beli Begum, 32, Babul, 26, Mousumi, 25, Tipu Sultan, 45, Babu, 20 and Asikul Islam, 20.
The incident took place at Tellikhari Ferry Ghat on the bank of Padma River in the South Char Paka area at around 12 noon on Wednesday, according to police and local administration officials.
Confirming the matter, Shibganj Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Shakib-Al-Rabbi said a boat, carrying the wedding party, set out for Panka in Shibganj upazila from Narayanpur in Chapainawabganj Sadar upazila.
However, the boat was forced to dock at the Tellikhari Ferry Ghat on account of heavy rain, and they later took shelter under a thatched shed there at around 12pm.
"Suddenly, a thunderbolt hit them, killing 15 on the spot while one other died on the way to the hospital," the UNO said.
According to local sources, on Sunday, the daughter of Hossain Ali of Shibganj upazila was married to the son of Patu from Chapainawabganj sadar upazila.
Per tradition, the bride’s family took the groom to their (the bride’s) house.
The groom's father Patu and his relatives had gone to the bride’s paternal home to bring the newly wed couple back home, when the tragedy struck.
The UNO also said arrangements were being made to recover the bodies from the spot and for their funeral. The families of the deceased will be given financial assistance as per the government rules for burial.
One of the injured, Tamim, of Baidyanathpur area, was sent to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital (RMCH) for treatment.
Residential Medical Officer (RMO) of Chapainawabganj Sadar Hospital Dr Nurunnahar Nasu said six dead bodies and four survivors were brought to the hospital.
The condition of the four injured is very critical and they may be referred to the RMCH, she added.
Upon receiving the news, Shibganj UNO visited the spot.
Saber Ali Pramanik, deputy director of the Fire Service, said they had recovered 14 bodies from the scene, and the rest of them had already been taken away by their relatives.
Deputy Commissioner of Chapainawabganj Manjurul Hafeez, Additional Superintendent of Police (Administration) Mohammad Mahbub Alam, Sadar Upazila Nirbahi Officer Iffat Jahan, and other officials visited the spot as well.
The deputy commissioner has promised to pay Tk25,000 to each of the deceased’s families.
He also visited the injured in the hospital and announced to bear their medical expenses.