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Lightning Strike Kills 19 Cows in N.B.

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Eleven mature cows and eight calves died after the tree they were sheltering under was struck by lightning. ALAMY
Eleven mature cows and eight calves died after the tree they were sheltering under was struck by lightning. ALAMY

A violent lightning storm over the weekend in New Brunswick resulted in the deaths of nearly half of an Upper Hainsville farmer's cattle herd.

Eleven mature cows and eight calves died after the tree they were sheltering under was struck by lightning. One tree was split and the current from the strike electrocuted the cattle.

The strike also knocked out a nearby electric fence, blowing apart the control box. John Morgan and his wife, Cathy, lost power and use of their land line after another strike near their house.

Only four calves survived the strike near the trees.

"We found 19 head of cattle, laying, (electrocuted), under the trees," John said, "Four must have been out of range of the electricity and their lives were saved."

The Morgans said they estimate the 19 cattle to be worth about $25,000, but Cathy says money is not the only issue is this case.

"I was just devastated," Cathy said. "They were all pets," finished John, "That means you can walk up to them and lay your hands on them, scratch them and talk to them, and if you go out to pasture they’ll come up to you... whistle and they will come."

Luckily, the other half of the herd was in another field and were not harmed.

The Morgans have been slowly building the beef herd for more than a quarter of a century.

The loss isn’t covered by insurance, because it’s considered an ‘act of God.’

The Morgans called in family members to help bury the cows on Saturday, the same day they found them.

The Morgans say although this is extremely rare, they have heard of another, similar case. One day earlier, 21 years ago, another farmer just three kilometres down the road, also had 19 head of cattle killed by lightning.

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