Three people struck dead in front of the White House

They are a couple from rural Wisconsin, James Mueller, 76, and Donna Mueller, 75, authorities said.

They were on a trip to the US capital to celebrate their 56th wedding anniversary, their niece told the local Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The death of a third victim, a 29-year-old man, was confirmed Friday afternoon by the police.

The fourth person remained Friday morning “in critical condition”, according to the police.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre expressed her condolences to the families of those who died in a statement on Friday and expressed “her prayers for those who are still fighting for their lives”.

Lightning struck Thursday in the public park which borders the residence of the American president a few minutes before 7:00 p.m. (23:00 GMT).

Photos released by firefighters showed scores of rescue vehicles in the tree-strewn square as a storm continued to batter Washington.

The probability of being struck by lightning is 1 in 1 million, according to data from US health authorities.

“As soon as there is lightning, you must take refuge in a safe place. Trees, of course, are not safe places”, recalled the spokesman for the fire department of Washington, Vito Maggiolo, questioned by local media.

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