KILLOWEN Primary School in Lisburn has closed its doors today – the day after a father and his two children were struck by lightning outside it.

The 37-year-old and his five-year-old son remain critically ill in hospital with his daughter (7) stable after the incident on Tuesday at the school in the Laurel Hill area of the city.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) was called to the scene just before 2pm yesterday following reports that an adult male had been struck by a bolt of lightning.

Three A&E crews and a further two RRV Paramedics were sent to the scene after it was learned that two children had also been struck.

It is understood that the man was resuscitated at the scene using a defibrillator before all three were taken to hospital. The school’s sports day had taken place earlier in the day.

SDLP Lisburn Councillor Pat Catney said the local community has been left stunned by the incident.

“This is an absolute tragedy,” he said. “There’s no preparing for an incident of this nature. I want to put on the record my sincere appreciation for the speed with which the Ambulance Service responded as well as the great efforts of teachers and parents to make the area safe for other children at the school.

“My prayers and the prayers of this entire community are with the family at this very difficult time.”

The NIAS is urging caution after the incident at the Lisburn primary school.

“As more thundery showers are forecast with the possibility of lightning we would ask people to remain very vigilant when they are out and about,” said a spokesperson.

“If there is a high chance of thunder storms, lightning safety advice would suggest that you stay indoors but if you are outside you should avoid open fields and hilltops.

“You should also stay away from tall, isolated trees. If you are in a group, spread out to avoid the current travelling between group members.

“You should also stay away from water and wet items as well as metal objects, which are all excellent conductors of electricity.”