Lightning kills Aichi youth on pitcher’s mound during game


A high school student died after being struck by lightning Wednesday during a baseball game at a school in Fusocho, Aichi Prefecture, police said.

Shoki Ando, 17, a pitcher for the private Seishin High School, was on the mound when he was struck by a thunderbolt during a game against an unnamed high school, according to Inuyama Police Station sources. The police were informed about the lightning strike by phone at 1:15 p.m.

The second-year student and resident of Oguchicho fell into cardiopulmonary arrest and was rushed to a nearby hospital, where his pulse briefly recovered before he died, the sources said.

Ando was struck as the game was going on in front of about 100 spectators, including parents and other high school students. The game had been briefly suspended due to rain starting at 1 p.m.

Police quoted witnesses as saying they heard distant thunder first, and then after about 10 seconds the lightning bolt hit the student with a loud “bang.”

“We need to remind ourselves thunder may feel distant, but an incident like this could happen,” Mitsuo Kurachi, principal of Seishin High School, said after the incident. He said the school will create an instruction manual to address thunderstorm situations.

The Nagoya Local Meteorological Observatory had issued a thunderstorm warning early Wednesday, but the school was not aware of it, Kurachi said.

  • Max Erimo

    My condolences to the family of the young student whose lif was tragically ended.
    My wrath to the authorities who let the game take place in such conditions. To let anyone carry out activities in a thunderstorm no matter how far away you think it may be is bordering on being criminally negligent.
    The death of beach goers struck by lightening several years ago because the life guards failed to clear the water and the beaches, was another incident.
    Don’t blame the wether authorities for not issuing warnings or the fact that you didn’t know of the warnings. Safety first.
    Any game can be won or lost or replayed at any time. A precious life can only be lost once.
    Look. Think. Act. Safety first.

  • Daniel Coghlan

    I understand that random freaks of nature can occur but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that since they said “(sic) create an instruction manual to address thunderstorm situations”, then they don’t have a current procedure for this situation.
    There is plenty of research and accessible procedures such as almost all Australian sports 30-30 safety guideline.

    • Jeffrey

      I’m the safety officer for our local LL. here in the Seattle area. The coach should be fired. In the U.S., you are required to stop games if a storm develops or even postpone them if the weather forecast calls for electrical storms. We don’t get electrical storms that often here in the spring or summer, but we did cancel practices twice this year because of them.