By Sabelo Majola | 2018-03-09
A horrible tragedy befell a Lukhele family in Dvokolwako on Wednesday night as lightning claimed the life of a mother and her son while they were sleeping.
The family is shattered and in obvious pain after what was perceived as petite rain turned out to be the worst nightmare for them.
While in their sleep in one of the rooms of the big family house, Ntombi Lukhele and her son Saziwe Gama didn’t know their nap would be eternal as they were struck by lightning from the severe storm that hit some parts of the country on Wednesday night.
The storm was so severe that the Lukhele family was not the only afftected as another family of eight was rushed to Dvokolwako Health Centre on the same night after being struck by lightning.
Their case was mild as they were examined, treated and discharged except for one member who was in severe pain.
The member of the family was admitted and spent a night at the health facility but was discharged yesterday morning.
The Lukhele family incident occurred around 9pm as narrated by Ayanda Lukhele, who is an elder brother to the deceased.
Ayanda said it was a norm for his family members to rush to the garage and take cover at the family cars in times of storms because a car was safer to be in when there is lightning.
“While all the other family members were at the garage inside the family cars, Ntombi was in her room with her son who was asleep at the time and that might be reason she didn’t take cover at the garage,” he said.
Ayanda said the rain lasted for about 15-20 minutes but before it stopped raining, the family members noticed smoke and flames from the room that Ntombi was sleeping with her son.
Ayanda has his own house 200 metres away from his parental home but he heard screams coming from home.
He quickly attended to the screaming family members only to find his sister’s room up in flames.
“With the help of the neighbours, we used buckets with water to try and put out the fire but it didn’t help that much as the flames persisted. I decided to wear a big wet jacket and charged into the burning house.
“My niece was on top of the bed with burns and his stomach bulging. Ntombi had fallen off the bed and after a brief search in the smoke filled house I found her between the bed and the wall with her hand on the bed as if she was searching for her baby boy but weakness derailed her,” he said.
Ayanda said he was able to take out his niece from the burning house but it was already too late as he was dead at the time.
“We couldn’t retrieve Ntombi from the house as she had sustained severe burns on her body and the flames were too much to bear.
“It was until the arrival of the Fire and Emergency personnel together with the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) that she was retrieved from the house and it was already too late,” he said.
Ayanda owns a fleet of quantums that operate in the Tjaneni-Manzini route and it is the quantums that the family seek refugee in during thunderstorms.
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