A veteran tour guide has been killed by a freak lightning strike in Brazil after warning his group that it was going to rain.
Leilson de Souza, 36, was leading hikers through a trail in Rio de Janeiro’s Tijuca National Park when he was shocked on Sunday morning.
Karlla Araújo, 26, was recording a selfie video showing the group on top of a large rock as De Souza walked back and forth on another just before he was hit.
A loud noise could be heard in the background as the woman immediately screamed before the video ended.
Leilson de Souza was killed by a lightning strike on Sunday while leading a group of hikers through a hiking trail in Rio de Janeiro.
Leilson de Souza was standing over a rock when he was struck by lightning in Rio de Janeiro’s Tijuca National Park. He was pronounced dead at the scene
Karlla Araújo (pictured) was recording a video selfie showing her guide Leilson de Souza alone on a rock, moments before he was struck by lightning and killed
Araújo told Brazilian online news channel G1 that de Souza told them it would rain in the afternoon and that since the weather could change from one hour to the next, it would be okay to continue walking.
The group followed De Souza, who has been giving tours for a decade, and decided to make the two-hour hike to the top of the peak when it started to rain halfway through their hike.
“He asked if we wanted to continue and everyone decided yes.” said Araujo. “The guide said there was a chance to get to the end and have a view in the sun.”
An air ambulance was sent to the location, but de Souza was dead when paramedics arrived.
The walkers were guided by a brother of Souza, who is also training to become a tour guide.
‘We were completely desperate. “I wanted to go down, but at the same time I was scared because more lightning could strike,” Araújo said.
De Souza enjoyed hiking and studied environmental management in college.
Leilson de Souza had told hikers there was a chance it would rain during their trek through Tijuca National Park
A group of hikers’ trek through Tijuca National Park ended in tragedy on Sunday when their guide Leilson de Souza (above right) was killed by lightning
Leilson de Souza has been providing guides to hikers in Rio de Janeiro for ten years
One of his greatest achievements was scaling Dedo dec Deus, a 1,800-meter mountain in Rio de Janeiro’s Serra dos Órgãos National Park, in June.
One of his siblings, Leonado Barros, told Brazilian newspaper Globo that the family had difficulty accepting that de Souza had been killed by a lightning strike.
‘We didn’t believe it at the time. But the way it happened, we could never have imagined that,” he said. ‘We imagine that we will die anyway, die anyway, but lightning makes that complicated.
‘He was an excellent person, he did everything for everyone, he was a man who always wanted to take special people, the elderly, everything with him. His profession was mountain climbing, it was nature.’
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that at least 40 million lightning strikes occur in the United States each year.
The chance of being struck by lightning each year is less than one in a million, and at least 90 percent of victims survive.
National Weather Service data shows that 13 people were killed by lightning strikes in the United States in 2023, including three people in separate boating and swimming incidents.
Froilanis Rivas, a 34-year-old mother of two, was killed last Tuesday after being struck by lightning on a beach in the city of Barranquilla, Colombia. on
The Venezuela native was standing near the show when she was shocked and collapsed into the sand. Rivas went into cardiac arrest and was rushed to a local hospital, where doctors attempted to revive her before she was pronounced dead.
In September, a Mexican woman and a hammock seller were killed by lightning on a beach in Michoacán, Mexico.
Elvia de Jesús was following her husband after they emerged from the water when she and the seller, Felix Andres, were struck by a bolt of lightning on Maruata beach. Both victims were pronounced dead at the scene.