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Lightning Strikes Injure Nearly 50 in Germany, France

White-and-red tape is strung across a sandy pathway through Park Monceau after a lightning stike, in Paris, May 28, 2016.

A bolt of lightning that disrupted a youth football (soccer) match in western Germany Saturday sent 35 people to hospitals, and a similar incident in Paris injured 11 children and adults.

Police in Hoppstaetten, Germany, said three people were seriously injured at the football match, but 30 children between the ages of 9 and 11 and two adults were rushed to hospitals as a precaution. One of those seriously injured was the match referee, who reportedly was struck by the lightning just after he whistled the match to a finish.

A police spokesman told a German news channel (n-tv) that witnesses told officers the lightning came out of a clear sky, with no threatening clouds or rain.

In Paris, meanwhile, 11 people, mostly children, were hurt by a similar lightning strike during a child's birthday party in a park.

Four children and two adults were seriously injured, authorities said, with four of them in critical condition. The party-goers had taken shelter under a tree when the lightning bolt hit, knocking several of them unconscious.

Four children and one other adult were less seriously injured. The incident occurred at Parc Monceau, a popular spot for family outings in northwest Paris.

An off-duty fireman who was nearby dashed over to treat those who were burned by the jolt of electricity, the Paris Fire Service said, adding that his quick first aid likely averted more serious consequences.