Dash cam footage has emerged online showing what is claimed to be a lightning strike blowing to pieces a car full of robbers who had just raided a local church and were being chased on a highway by Russian police.
One moment the car was involved in a high-speed chase with police, allegedly after thieves raided a church in the Russian city of St. Petersburg, and the next moment the car was blown to smithereens by what the YouTube uploader says was reported locally as as a lightning strike in the midst of heavy rainfall.
The video shows the vehicle speeding along with the sound of a police siren in the audio background, suggesting that the car was being chased by police. Suddenly, the car appears to ignite spontaneously, blowing to pieces and scattering charred debris across the road.
The sudden alleged lightning strike catastrophe forced the car whose dash cam was filming to slow down and pull over. We see charred remains of the car and a wheel flying off the road as the car pulls over.
It was not possible to determine from the video how many people were in the car at the time.
The video, uploaded to YouTube by user World News TV under the title "Lightning Strikes Car That Robbed Church in St. Petersburg, Russia -- Dash Cam Footage," has received nearly 200,000 views. But it is not clear who actually made the video, or rather, whose dash cam captured the incident.
According to the description of the YouTube video, the incident took place on December 9, and police reports confirmed that another car was damaged after it hit the vehicle.
"A group of masked men robbed a church in St.Petersburg and led police on a high speed chase last Tuesday. The pursuit was cut short however, when a bolt of lightning destroyed the car and killed all the passengers inside. According to police reports another car was also damaged after hitting the ruined getaway vehicle."
For those who believe in the idea of divine retribution, the NOAA statistic that the chances of being struck by lightning in a given year in the U.S. is about one in a million makes the claim of divine retribution in the case of the alleged robbers appear more convincing.
But the chances of being struck by lightning in your lifetime is one in 12,000.
According to the NOAA, not all victims are obliterated dramatically as the unfortunate robbers in the video. Official data shows that in the last three decades, there has been an average of 51 reported deaths by lightning strike a year, with only about 10 percent of victims being killed. This means that about 90 percent of victims survive with various degrees of disability.
In many cases, a lightning strike results in a cardiac arrest. Many victims die a few days later, often due to brain damage.