Two people are still missing in the Tatra mountains, after lightning strikes on Thursday afternoon left five dead and over 150 injured, many of them seriously.
A storm which passed through the Tatra mountains, a popular hiking destination, left four people dead and at least 89 wounded.see more
Tourists who were on the peak of the popular Giewont mountain were exposed to a series of lightning strikes around 2pm on Thursday. Lightning struck, among others, Giewont's top, electrocuting people who were holding on to the chains.
Four people on the Polish side of the Tatras and one person on the Slovakian side have been killed.
As of midday on Friday, the Tatra Volunteer Search and Rescue (TOPR) reported that two people are still unaccounted for. Over 30 people still remain in hospitals.
The head of TOPR Jan Krzysztof said that as many as 157 people needed medical help. "It's a huge scale, hardly ever recorded in the mountains except for disasters such as earthquakes," he said. “We have never experienced anything like this before.”
“We assess that the rescue operation went very well”, the TOPR head said. “In a very short time, within the first four hours, all those who needed help had received it.”
The TOPR head emphasised that the storm was seen coming for quite some time but people nevertheless kept on ascending Giewont. He blamed it mostly on the lack of preparation and knowledge.
“People who climb Giewont are very random as it is an easily accessible peak. They treat is as a walk in the park,” Mr Krzysztof said.”Thousands line up to climb it every day, but many lack basic understanding and knowledge about climbing and proper behaviour in the mountains.”