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Ball lightning kills 84 sheep in Tuva

Ball lightning kills 84 sheep in TuvaBall lightning caused a  lot of damage at one of sheep herding stations in Tuva. During a strong thunderstorm on 24 July in Tes-Khem district, a ball lightning formed right above the family station of Saiyn Sandykmaa, one of GUP "Choduraa" shepherds. It is not known what would have happened if the animals had not run away from the camp to hide from the rain under trees near the camp. The ball of lightning, possibly because of air movement produced by running livestock or by the wind,  followed the sheep who huddled under the trees. The ball of light hit one of the trees and a mighty explosion followed. It was so strong that one of the sheep, weighing 30 kg (about 60 lbs) was thrown for a distance of 10 meters like a chip of wood. The trunk of a 15 meter pine tree was split vertically from top to the roots. After the storm abated, it became clear that 84 animals died from the lightning strike. The Sandykmaa family, fortunately, was only in shock - possibly thanks to their sheep.

The details of the incident became known today because of a report to a special commission of the ministry of agriculture and provisioning,, which today went to the site  of the incident to ascertain the damages.  The leaders of GUP "Choduraa" contacted the ministry with a request for  compensation for the loss. The commission has not so far come to a definite conclusion: an incident of  so many animals dying from a lightning strike is very atypical not just for Tuva, but for Russia as a whole.  Even old-timers do not remember anything like that, and all the Russian media  know of only one similar incident in Dagestan in 2007 - a ball lightning killed a shepherd and a herd of 300 sheep.

In the words of specialists from the ministry, neither the organs of local administration nor the government of the republic have any formal grounds for compensating the loss.  Until 2004, direct compensation was paid to farmers and herders who suffered losses because of natural elements, but later it was revoked by the federal center - now such losses should only be covered by insurance system.  Nevertheless, as the ministry informed us, after the investigation is finished, the question of possible help to Tes-Khem farm with partial compensation will be considered., translated by Heda Jindrak
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