Lightning struck during a football game at a high school sports field in southwestern Japan, leaving a high school student in serious condition while 17 others were also taken to hospital, local authorities said Wednesday.

The incident occurred around 2:30 p.m. while students from Hosho High School in Miyazaki and Kamoto High School from Kumamoto Prefecture were holding a practice match. The game took place at the school in Miyazaki.

Photo shows the site where a lightning strike resulted in 18 people being hospitalized in Miyazaki, southwestern Japan, on April 3, 2024. (Kyodo)

Two of the students from Kamoto High School were initially in serious condition but one of them later regained consciousness, school officials said.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said warm humid air flowed in toward a front and low pressure system over Kyushu region in southwestern Japan, creating ideal conditions for lightning.

A thunderstorm advisory has been in effect for Miyazaki since Tuesday.