Peruvian footballer João Contreras miraculously survived being struck by lightning during a Copa Peru match between Sport Águila and Fuerza Minera on Tuesday.
It was initially reported that the 21-year-old, playing for Sport Águila, had been tragically killed on the pitch. Incredibly this incorrect information was even published by his club’s official Twitter account.
But, astonishingly, Contreras survived the lightning strike following rapid on-pitch attention from medics and is currently being treated for second-degree burns, according to Peruvian news agencies. The latest information is that he is in a stable condition and recovering in hospital.
'Man stronger than nature'
The Guardian report that a Peruvian newspaper celebrated Contreras’s remarkable escape from death with the triumphant banner: “Man stronger than nature”.
It’s also been revealed that several supporters inside the stadium, as well as the assistant referee, are being treated for shock after witnessing the shocking incident up close.
The match was abandoned, with the scores level at 1-1, and it’s currently unclear when the outcome of the two-legged tie will be resolved. The opening fixture finished 6-3 to Union Fuerza Minera, but football takes a back-seat in Peru as they come to terms with this shocking and unexpected natural incident.
It’s not clear when Contreras might be fit enough to return to action, but in this case it’s all rather insignificant: a 21-year-old is extremely fortunate to have escaped with his life intact and that’s the most important thing.
Video: Contreras struck by lightning
To watch the shocking incident, and the aftermath, click play on the video below - but WARNING: some viewers may find the footage distressing.