Mangaluru, May 28, 2018: The fanfare at the state’s only IPL Fan Park set up at Nehru Maidan here came to a startling end with lighting striking the crowd at 7.45pm on May 27, Sunday, injuring at least one amidst total chaos.
The injured, Siddappaji, 25, a constable with City Armed Reserve (CAR), was rushed to the hospital. The massive lightning also brought the entire show to an abrupt end with about eight pieces of the 100-odd panels making the giant screen breaking into pieces. The late evening heavy rains, accompanied by lightning and thunder, saw a thin crowd turning up at the venue, which prevented a larger tragedy from happening.
City Deputy commissioner of police (crime and traffic) Uma Prashanth, told media that the constable sustained injuries on his nose and mouth. He was not on duty but had gone to watch the match as a fan. DCP said she did not know whether more people were injured in the incident as there was total chaos at the venue.
However earlier, Sumit Mallapurkar, assistant manager, cricket operations, BCCI, said the person may not have been hit by lightning but collapsed due to the shock.
“I was in the VIP lounge at the time and was told that a youth collapsed. I contacted the event management team who told me that the youth may not have been hit by lighting per say, but may have collapsed in shock,” he said.
The constable was one of the several people seeking shelter under the stalls set up by the organisers where fans got themselves painted the names of Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad, the two teams vying for the top honour at the 12th edition of the most celebrated cricket league. He was rushed to the hospital in a crew ambulance parked nearby.
Imtiaz, convenor of Mangalore Premier League and part of the organising committee for the IPL event, said the youth suffered a minor injury. He did not reveal the nature of the injury or the youth’s identity.
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A loud clap was heared, followed by fans falling over each other and running away helter-skelter from the spot. The spot was about 50 feet from the giant screen. After the incident, people warned one another to run from that particular spot since there was a lot of electronic equipment and standing light poles to illuminate the area. The lightning seems to have struck the pole and the youth may have suffered injuries as he was near it. The intensity was such that a couple of large umbrellas that displayed names of the sponsors were blown away.
Many who had gathered at the venue and near the spot of the incident said they were shell-shocked by the incident.
The IPL Fan Park was set up for Mangalureans to watch the IPL final between Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad in Mumbai. Such screens have also been set up at Muzzafarpur, Kota and Nagpur to allow fans to relive the final action in a stadium like atmosphere.
Sumit Mallapurkar, during the announcement of the IPL Fan Park in Mangaluru, had said the park would run even if there was even a single fan inside. DNA Entertainment Network had arranged for waterproof LED screen for the event. Sumit had also mentioned that one can’t fight nature in running a show like this when quizzed about the possibility of rains on the day of the final.