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BREAKING: Lightning Strike Kills Two Near Presidential Villa

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BREAKING: Lightning Strike Kills Two Near Presidential Villa

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Two people were killed, and two more were seriously injured on Friday after a lightning strike near the White House the night before, police in the US capital said.

The lightning hit Lafayette Square, a small park across the street from the White House, shortly before 7:00 pm (2300 GMT) Thursday, leaving two men and two women with “critical life-threatening injuries,” according to a statement from Washington’s fire and emergencies department.

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All the victims were taken to local hospitals, but on Friday morning, the Metropolitan Police confirmed that two of them – 75-year-old Donna Mueller and 76-year-old James Mueller, both from Janesville in Wisconsin – had been pronounced dead.

The other two adults remain in critical condition, police said.

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A White House spokeswoman said the Biden administration was “saddened by the tragic loss of life.”

“We are praying for those still fighting for their lives,” said Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

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US Secret Service and park police rushed to help the four after witnessing the strike, fire and emergency services department spokesman Vito Maggiolo said in a statement on social media.

Photos posted by the department on social media showed multiple ambulances and at least one fire truck with flashing lights at the scene.

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Witness David Root told NBC he heard a “horrific boom.”

“I just couldn’t believe it,” he said. “It was surreal. I have never seen anything like this in my entire life.”

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He said he had been sheltering beneath a tree when he saw the lightning strike across the park.

The people “weren’t moving,” he said, so he and others ran over to give help.

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