Tragedy in Indonesian football: player dies struck by lightning during a match


By John

The world of sport is mourning the tragic death of Septian Raharja, a 35-year-old footballer from Football Boots Indonesia (FBI) of Subang, who died on February 10 after being struck by lightning during a friendly match at the Siliwangi Stadium in Bandung, Indonesia , about 150 km south of Jakarta.

The tragic event was immortalized in a video that made the rounds on social media: Raharja, while walking on the pitch, was suddenly struck by lightning, collapsing to the ground. Another player, close to him at the time of the accident, also fell.

(Warning: the video below includes images that may be offensive to some viewers)

Eyewitnesses told local media how, despite the sky being cloudy and the weather hot, no one could have predicted the tragedy. GJ, a player from the opposing team, described Raharja’s physical condition immediately after the lightning strike: burnt legs and a scar on his chest, with his uniform reduced to rags.

As some players ran away in fear, Raharja’s teammates rushed towards him, desperately trying to get him off the pitch. Although still alive immediately after the crash, Raharja was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at Sariningsih Hospital, just over a kilometer away, with his shirt torn by lightning.

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A post shared by Football Boots Subang (@fbi_subang)

The FBI Subang club paid tribute to Raharja with a post on Instagram, accompanied by the date of his death and a rose emoji, receiving hundreds of messages of condolence, including from former Indonesian national team striker Cristian Gonzales.

This tragic event brings to mind a similar incident that occurred almost twenty years ago in Singapore, when Jiang Tao, 18, a player for the Sinchi FC club, was killed by lightning during training at the now demolished Jurong Stadium.