A thunderstorm blew in as the hikers passed Yingzhui or Eagle Beak Rock on Mount Luofu. They took shelter under the rock but lightning hit almost everyone in the group.
“I saw the lightning strike three times and the thunder was really loud,” one of the tourists, Luo Bu, told Southern Metropolis Daily.
“Suddenly I was suspended in the air, and my whole body went numb. I lost control and hit the ground.”
Luo said he lay there for several minutes, unable to move. His friends were also lying on the ground, some unconscious, one of them face down with a pool of blood under his head.
When Luo managed to get up, he ran down the mountain to get help. Rescue workers brought the victims to a hospital. Most of them escaped with minor injuries, but one woman was sent to a hospital in Guangzhou to be treated for eye damage.
While Ms. Ye, another of the tourists, was in the hospital, her husband showed her scorched clothing to the Daily reporter. There was a big hole burned in her shirt and another in the back pocket of her pants, showing where the lightning had traveled through her body.
The Luofu Mountain Management Committee asked local meteorology experts to investigate the scene and determine what had happened to assist the insurance company with liability claims, the Daily reported.
Local authorities caution against climbing the mountain on a rainy day.
“Please learn how to avoid lightning as summer is coming and there will be more storms,” one netizen wrote on China’s Twitter-like Weibo.
Other netizens have been counting their blessings.
“My parents told me that they went to Luofu Mountain that same day,” one wrote. “About half an hour later 17 people were struck by lightning. I did not dare to tell them. I am glad that they are lucky and safe!”