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Lightning kills 5 Mexican children praying at cross

Written by: Staff
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MEXICO CITY, Apr 25 (Reuters) Five Mexican children were killed when a large metal cross they were praying at was struck by lightning in central Mexico, local media reported.

Five children between 9 and 16 years old died and several others suffered burns when lightning struck a white-painted metal cross set on a hill in the town of Santa Maria del Rio early on Sunday, according to two newspaper reports.

''The lightning went straight into them and killed them instantly,'' local Red Cross chief Eduardo Suarez told the daily El Norte.

Officials in the state of San Luis Potosi were not immediately available to confirm the report, also in El Universal.

A photo showed charring on the cross's turquoise-painted cement base, although the cross was still standing.

Several families had been participating in a midnight ceremony as part of a local religious festival that centers around the cross.

Santa Maria del Rio calls itself the ''cradle of the shawl'' for the traditional silk shawls that artisans have woven there since pre-Hispanic times.

REUTERS SK RAI0416

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