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Lightning strike kills 11 members of remote indigenous tribes in Colombia, officials say

LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 13:  Lightning strikes northwest of the Las Vegas Beltway during a thunderstorm early on September 13, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Stormy weather is expected to continue through Thursday.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 13: Lightning strikes northwest of the Las Vegas Beltway during a thunderstorm early on September 13, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Stormy weather is expected to continue through Thursday. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)  (2011 Getty Images)

Authorities say 11 members of a remote indigenous tribe along Colombia's Caribbean coast were killed when a lightning bolt struck a thatch-roofed hut where they were gathered.

Military officials said Monday that another 15 members of the Wiwa tribe that live high in the coastal Sierra Nevada range were injured with burns, six of them seriously.

The electrical storm took place around midnight as the tribe was performing a traditional ceremony accompanied by tribe elders known as "Mamos."

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos confirmed the deaths and expressed his condolences, ordering the military to evacuate by helicopter injured tribe members who otherwise would have to walk downhill six hours to the nearest road.

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