A thunderstorm turned deadly in southern Poland on Thursday after lightning struck a popular hiking destination in the country's Tatra Mountains.
The lightning bolt killed at least five people and left more than 100 others injured, some of them seriously injured, according to the Associated Press (AP). Piotr Cwik, governor of the province of Krakow, told reporters that the death toll could still rise. Two of the fatalities were children, the AP reported.
The incident occurred atop Giewont Peak along the border of southern Poland and northern Slovakia, near the town of Zakopane, Poland. The mountain peak reaches an elevation of 6,217 feet.
Details were still emerging late Thursday, but rescuers believe a large 15-meter cross that stands tall on the summit could have acted as a type of large lightning rod. There are also metal chains along the trail to the summit that hikers often use to help climb to the top that could have conducted the electric pulse from a lightning bolt.
Emergency crews used helicopters to transport the injured down the mountain to safety.
Witnesses near the scene said that the day started off clear with the thunderstorm quickly moving into the area, the AP reported.
"There was a sudden thunderstorm that moved into the area [on Thursday afternoon]," AccuWeather Meteorologist Jim Andrews said.
"There is no shelter at the summit and the strike occurred where lots of people typically gather."
Andrews said that it is not out of the question that there were several lightning strikes on the exposed summit.
Leszek Dorula, the mayor of Zakopane, has declared Friday as a day of mourning following the deadly lightning strike, according to the BBC.