As many as 129 sheep belonging to farmers were killed after lightning struck them in a freak accident at rural Guntur in Andhra Pradesh in the wee hours of Wednesday. The sheep were left in the grazing fields overnight by the farmers, as was their practice but were found dead the next morning.
According to the Vedullapalli Police station of Bapatla mandal in Guntur, it was around 6am on Wednesday when the five men to whom the sheep belonged woke up to find that their livestock were all killed. The incident took place between the grazing fields of Vedulapalli and Kothapalem villages.
"It's normal practice to take them for grazing in the evening and stay over for the night. The men were also sleeping, but they were not harmed. The men were from Maddiboyinavaripalem village. They had come here to graze their sheep," said Rajasekhara Reddy, Sub Inspector with the Vedullapalli Police station.
The official informed that though the farmer's livestock was not insured, the Animal Husbandry Department was mulling on compensating the farmers for their losses. The official in charge for Guntur region was unavailable for comment.
Most of the 129 sheep belonged to five farmers viz. Maddiboyina Veeraiah, Maddiboyina Siva, Akki Srinivasa Rao, Akki Musalaiah and Bobby. Sheep owned by a couple of others were also found among the dead, said the police.
Earlier this week on October 3, a 55-year-old labourer was killed after being struck by lightning in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh. The victim, who was identified as B Nageswara Rao, was an agricultural labourer who was returning to his home from the fields with his livestock when lightning stuck him. The incident took place at Chavalapadu village of Mandavalli Mandal.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) in the meantime has issued two alerts for Andhra Pradesh. One alert has been issued for the state's Rayalaseema region and the other for north coastal Andhra.
"Heavy rain very likely to occur at isolated places over north coastal Andhra Pradesh. Thunderstorm accompanied by lightning very likely to occur at isolated places," the IMD said.
"Thunderstorm accompanied with lightning very likely to occur at isolated places over Rayalaseema," it added.
Read: Heavy rain and thunderstorm expected across Andhra: IMD