Baby Killed by Giant Hailstone as Raging Storm Suddenly Strikes

via Twitter / Meteocat
via Twitter / Meteocat

A 20-month-old girl has died after being struck in the head by a giant hailstone during raging storms in Catalonia, local authorities say.

The 4-inch hailstone was one of many that pummeled the northeastern Spanish region late Tuesday, with dozens of people in the village of La Bisbal d’Emporda reportedly injured. Local broadcaster TV3 reports that about 50 people were hurt, some of whom suffered broken bones.

The storm struck suddenly at around 7:30 p.m. local time, reportedly catching many families that were outside unaware.

“There was chaos, with little boys and girls running around alone, some parents were able to grab their children,” Sicus Carbonell, a musician who filmed some of the devastating storm, told Reuters.

Carbonell said he darted out into the storm to rescue a “girl of around three or four” and pull her under an umbrella.

“Then a hailstone broke though the fabric ... and I told my group that either we get into the restaurant or one of those tennis balls would land on us and we wouldn’t make it,” he was quoted saying.

The 20-month-old was rushed to Girona’s Trueta hospital but she succumbed to her injuries, local authorities said. No further details were immediately available on the child, or who she was with at the time of the monster storm.

The town’s mayor, Carme Vall, said in televised comments Wednesday that “there wasn’t much that could be done for her.”

Vall said the hail storm was brief but brutal. “The hail fell for only 10 minutes, but it was 10 minutes of terror,” Vall was quoted saying by The Guardian.

“Painfully affected by this tragedy, I want to send my condolences to the family,” Catalan regional president Pere Aragonès said in a statement on Twitter. “A very big hug.”

The meteorological agency Meteocat said the hailstones that rained down were the largest recorded in 20 years.

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