Northern Ireland

Lisburn lightning strike: Staff commended for swift action

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Media captionLisburn lightning strike: School closes as father and son remain in hospital

The education minister has commended staff at a County Antrim school for their actions after a father and his two children were hit by lightning.

George Allen, 36, is critically ill in hospital after the incident at Killowen Primary School in Lisburn on Tuesday.

Mr Allen's five year old son, Geordie, is now stable, as is his seven-year-old daughter Georgia.

The vice-principal of the school resuscitated Mr Allen using a defibrillator.

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Image caption The man and his chidren were struck by lightning as he picked them up from school

Education Minister Peter Weir praised the staff's "swift response" to the "traumatic situation".

He said his "hopes and prayers" were with Mr Allen's family.

One of the governors, Roger Thompson, said there was a feeling of "emptiness" at the school on Wednesday.

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Media captionKillowen governor, Roger Thompson, said there was a feeling of "emptiness" at the school

Although the school was closed, staff met with independent counsellors on Wednesday to prepare them for any questions the children might ask when they return.

Democratic Unionist Party councillor Jonathan Craig, who sits on the school's board of governors, said the vice-principal would need support after his efforts at the scene.

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Image caption Killowen Primary School is closed on Wednesday

"I know that over the next 24 hours, the real impact of what has occurred will probably hit him.

"That's where we need specialist help to try and counsel and give guidance to him and the rest of the staff."

Mr Allen is being treated in the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald.

His children are at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children and are thought to have suffered burn injuries.

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