Boy, 9, killed by lightning strike 'was minutes from finishing football training'

·3 min read
Jordan Banks, 9, was hit by lightning while at football training. (SWNS)
Jordan Banks, 9, was hit by lightning while at football training. (SWNS)

A nine-year-old boy who died after being struck by lightning while playing football "was minutes from finishing training", an inquest has heard.

Jordan Banks was hit by lightning while taking part in a one-to-one session on the Common Edge playing fields in Blackpool on 11 May.

On Wednesday, an inquest at Blackpool Town Hall, which Jordan’s family did not attend, heard the weather had changed in the last 10 minutes of the training session.

Jordan’s stepfather Daniel Begg had been in his car watching him on the pitch, on School Road, when lightning struck shortly before 5pm.

Coroner Alan Wilson said: “He sadly reports he saw lightning hit Jordan and he fell to the ground straight away.”

Jordan died from cardiac arrest following a direct lightning strike. (swns)
Jordan died from cardiac arrest following a direct lightning strike. (SWNS)

Football coach Daniel Stenton, who was taking the session with Jordan, said in a witness statement they had decided to finish the training session when thunder started.

He said: “All of a sudden I felt something. I can’t begin to explain it but it made me put my hands on my head.”

Emma Gleeson was waiting to take her son to a training session when she saw a flash of lightning hit Jordan, the court heard.

In a statement, Ms Gleeson, who rang an ambulance, said she saw Jordan fall to the floor and Mr Begg run to him.

She said: “Daniel (Begg) clearly was thinking the same thing I was thinking and was saying: ‘He’s gone, he’s gone’.”

The inquest also heard a statement from paramedic Sharon Riley-Clarke, who said she and her colleague were called to the scene shortly after they witnessed a “loud and violent” sudden lightning strike nearby.

She said when they arrived at 5.01pm she saw Mr Begg crouched over Jordan in the field and he shouted to them: “He’s not breathing.”

She added: “He picked him up in his arms and was running to us.”

The coroner’s court heard Jordan arrived at Blackpool Victoria Hospital at about 5.30pm and was pronounced dead at 5.55pm.

Consultant paediatrician Dr Kate Goldberg said the death was due to cardiac arrest following a direct lightning strike.

Mr Wilson said: “All evidence indicates that once Jordan had been struck by lightning this was effectively going to be unsurvivable.”

He added: “This was an extremely rare occurrence.

“Although the weather had changed, it had changed very quickly and there appears to be no obvious reason why Jordan was struck by lightning.”

Jordan’s organs were donated after his death. (SWNS)
Jordan’s organs were donated after his death. (SWNS)

Mr Wilson, who recorded a short narrative conclusion, said he planned to write to the government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and bring the matter to its attention.

He said: “If a reminder about the risk lightning can pose is circulated and this somehow minimises the risk that this could occur again then that would be positive and avoid another family having to go through this sort of tragedy.”

Mr Wilson thanked the family for their “dignity and courage” in choosing to donate Jordan’s organs.

The inquest heard a statement from Met Office scientist Alan Day, who said possible thunderstorms had been forecast but no severe weather warning was issued, because the overall risk fell below the levels required.

Footballers and MPs were among those who paid tribute to Jordan following his death, with the Liverpool team wearing shirts with his name on to warm up for a match against Manchester United.

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