Three spectators lost their lives and two others sustained injuries when lightning struck during a hockey match at Sagbahal under Talsara police station, nearly 80 km from Rourkela, on Sunday.

The deceased are Rabi Narayana Tanty (25) and brothers Sumanat Gouda and Susanta Gouda, both in their late 20s. The three had taken shelter under a big banyan tree after it started to rain heavily during the match.

They were watching a league game between Sagbahal and a guest team.

The match was half way through when it started to rain. While the game was not stopped initially, the match was called off after thunder and lightning started.

Some of the spectators had just taken shelter under a banyan tree when the lighting struck.

Five persons were rushed to the Sundergarh district hospital where three were declared dead on arrival. Two seriously injured persons have been kept under observation.

Manjari Nayak, the inspector in charge of the Talsara police station, said the condition of the two injured was serious.

Medical superintendent of the Sundergarh district hospital, Dr Dilip Sarangi, confirmed the deaths. “We received three brought dead and two others in a very serious condition,” said the doctor.

Speaking about the condition of the two survivors, Sarangi said, “They are definitely serious but presently stable. We have kept them under constant observation.”

Last week, lightning killed two people in Kendrapara district on Friday.