Europe

Lightning hits children's soccer match in Germany

More than 30 people were taken to the hospital after lighting struck Saturday at the end of a children's soccer match in western Germany, police said.

Three adults were seriously injured in the incident in the town of Hoppstaedten, police said -- including the 45-year-old referee, who suffered a cardiac arrest after being hit directly by lightning and had to be revived by onlookers and a doctor.

All 29 of the children, ages 9 to 11, who had taken part in the match between local teams SG Perlbachtal and SG Meisenheim also were taken to nearby hospitals, police said in a statement. However, it stressed that it was "a purely precautionary measure" in their case. A spectator also was taken to the hospital as a precaution.

The game had just finished when lightning struck suddenly about 2 p.m., police spokesman Dominik Lentz told n-tv television.

He said "according to what everyone present says, there were no clouds in the sky ... so that this incident couldn't have been expected."

The town is 75 miles southwest of Frankfurt.

Parts of western Germany have seen storms, heavy rain and hail over the past two days.