A POWERFUL storm struck the central Majorcan district of Porreres on Tuesday in which local farmer Tomeu dels Fideus lost a third of his total stock - 23 sheep and 7 lambs - when they were struck by lightning sheltering under a tree.

Nevertheless, mystery still surrounds the death of the animals as the farmer reported: “I thought it must have been lightning but there again, it's hard to say for sure - there were no signs of burning either in the sheep or the tree as would normally be the case. I had been to the village to have lunch and I was faced with this sea of death on my return.” Tomeu dels Fideus said it was the first time in his 30 years of farming he had ever even heard of anything like this happening before. For someone who dedicated his professional life to animals, it was a personal shock. Neighbours had been coming and going to his home ever since the storm, confounded by the seemingly inexplicable events.

Yesterday, qualified vetinerary teams from the Balearic Ministry of Agriculture visited Porreres to take a note of what had happened and to find out exactly what had killed the animals. But the farmer was quite clear in his own mind that the deaths had to be “something natural.” He said that if the post mortem could not confirm that the sheep had been killed by lightning, there was no “earthly explanation” for their loss.