At least 79 people have been killed and more than 20 injured by lightning strikes in the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh, according to a BBC report.
Fifty-three people died in Bihar, 10 people were killed in neighbouring Jharkhand and at least 16 died in Madhya Pradesh, officials say.
Most of the people who died were working on farms during torrential rains on Tuesday, reports said.
Lightning strikes are common in India during heavy monsoon rains.
According to the BBC, in the north-east state of Bihar, the deaths occurred in Nalanda, Aurangabad, Rohtas, Purnea, Munger, Gaya, Saharsa, Bhagalpur, Banka and Kaimur.
One man taken to hospital in Rohtas said: “When it was raining we immediately took shelter. It [lightning] hit us there, and then we fell unconscious.
“We could not understand what had happened. Then in the middle, when I regained consciousness, I realised that I had been hit by something.”
At least 2,000 people have died in lightning strikes in India every year since 2005, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.
India receives 80% of its annual rainfall during the monsoon season, which runs between June and September.
Safety tips when lightning strikes
- Seek shelter inside a large building or a car
- Get out of wide, open spaces and away from exposed hilltops
- If you have nowhere to shelter, make yourself as small a target as possible by crouching down with your feet together, hands on knees and head tucked in
- Do not shelter beneath tall or isolated trees
- If you are on water, get to the shore and off wide, open beaches as quickly as possible
Source: Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents