A mother was killed in front of her family when she was struck by lightning on a Brazilian beach.
Rosangela Biavati a 36-year-old married mother of one, died instantly when she was hit by the bolt of electricity during a trip to Guaruja, a popular seaside resort on the coast of Sao Paulo.
The first photograph shows the victim heading towards the water with outstretched arms as she warns her 11-year-old son to get out of the sea because of the gathering storm overhead. The next image captures the electrical discharge streaking down.
This Mitsubishi pickup obscures the moment the thunderbolt hits the woman as she steps towards the water’s edge but the tragic outcome is clearly evident in the images below.
Three men, including the victim’s husband who is wearing white swimming trucks, drag her lifeless body onto the beach. According to Rosângela’s husband, his wife had gone to tell his son and nephews, who were swimming in the sea, to get out because of the bad weather. As she stepped into the water she was hit by a single bolt of lightning.
‘The weather started to close in and we decided to leave. I was putting our bags into the car, and the kids were on the beach. ‘The next minute my wife was lying on the floor. I received a mild shock,’ said a distraught Leandro Lopes Santos.
The victim’s brother Elias Biavati added: ‘
When I saw my sister she was already lying on the ground and people were trying to revive her by massaging her heart.’ According to the Biavati, another sister who was standing near to Roseangela when the lightning struck received a black eye. ‘We are in a state of shock. My brother-in-law is devastated by the sudden death of his wife. We can’t believe how it happened – it could have been any one of us,’ the victim’s brother said.
A total of 13 members, all from the same family, had gone to the beach for the day. They arrived at midday but by 3pm the sunny weather had changed as storm clouds gathered and the weather became overcast and the atmosphere heavy.
Café owner Arionaldo Garrido, who was on the beach, said he quickly realised something was wrong.
‘We had taken our tables inside because we could see a storm was coming. Several rays had already flashed across the sky and streaked down,’ he recalled. ‘Suddenly we heard a loud bang and saw several people running. We knew that something terrible had happened. It’s a real tragedy for the family who have lost a wife and mother.’
Climatologist Rodolfo Bonafim, from environmental organisation Friends of Water, said that the lightning bolts are common around this time of year.
‘There is a high incidence of lightning now because of an increase in heat and humidity. It’s more concentrated at this time during the summer than at other times in the year because the humidity is higher. ‘The seaside area is also a region bounded by the Atlantic Ocean, making it a perfect zone for this type of inclement weather,’ he said.