Madagascar: Four Killed in Lightning 
Strike at Adventist University

our construction workers, including at least one student, were killed in a January 21 lightning strike at Adventist University Zurcher, or AUZ, in Antsirabe, Madagascar, an island nation in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa.

According to Davidson Razafiarivony AUZ academic dean, the lightning strike came during an unscheduled afternoon of construction work at the school.

“It was raining, heavily, and eight men of our construction crew went to shelter themselves nearby,” Razafiarivony wrote in a message received by Adventist Review. “It was then that a strong lightening struck, coming down from a big pine tree (according to the university builder) about two meters. Two of them died on the spot, a church elder and his younger brother, a candidate for baptism. Another died on the way to the hospital.”

A fourth student, “by the name of Armand, was in a comatose state for three days, with severe burns on all his left side, passed away [January 24] at 1:30 [a.m.] in the hospital,” Razafiarivony added.

Three workers were treated for minor burns and injuries at local hospitals and were released, Razafiarivony reported. An eighth worker's condition was not reported.

The death of Armand provided the school with a witnessing opportunity, Razafiarivony said: “He [was] the only Seventh-day Adventist in the whole family. His testimony revealed that his baptism and conversion to the Adventist church were fiercely opposed. All the cares, concerns, and sympathy that the university demonstrated during these last days made an excellent impression [on] his parents, brothers, sisters and all the family.”

AUZ was established in 1979 and reorganized in 1995 and 1998. The size of the student body was unkown at deadline, however, Madagascar is undergoing a surge in accessions to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, as reported in Adventist World magazine in July 2007.

                                                                                                      --AR Staff with reporting from Humberto M. Rasi 


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