Lifeguard and police carrying the body of one of the two holidaymakers killed by lightning, | Alejandro Sepúlveda


The bodies of German Lars Plötner and Swiss Daniel Wieser will be repatriated as soon as possible, autopsies in Mallorca having confirmed that they both died as a result of being struck by lightning. They were both at Cala Mesquida in Capdepera when a thunderstorm hit the area on Thursday afternoon.

Joan Pol, the head of the Balearic government's emergency service, said on Friday that what happened on Thursday was highly exceptional, but that "it can happen". He warned that "we may have to get used to it, because storms in the Mediterranean will be more frequent". "We will have to adapt to this new reality." He added that the emergency services have very advanced meteorological systems but that issuing warnings can sometimes be difficult. "How do we give this information to the public without causing panic?"

Pol stressed that in situations such as that on Thursday, it is necessary to quickly vacate the beach and for beachgoers to leave everything, "including the umbrellas".

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The government's director general of emergencies, Jaume Barceló, said that this was something "that could happen to anyone", explaining that lifeguards, as soon as they were aware of the storm, "put up the red flag".

Pol emphasised that the public must "be very aware of the 112 emergency service warnings and take them very seriously". "On beaches, you must always follow the instructions given by the lifeguards."

Coroner Javier Alarcón explained on Friday that lightning strikes leave very specific marks on the body; they are known as Lichtenberg flowers. Death is almost always cardiac, "due to a sudden alteration in the rhythm of the heart". He added that the chances of being killed by a lightning strike are remote - "0.03 per one million inhabitants".