A sign from the sky? Lightning strikes iconic Rio de Janeiro monument

Mark Patteson, Staff Reporter

Last Thursday, lightning struck and broke the right thumb of Christ the Redeemer, the iconic statue that stands over and embraces Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. However, this was not likely a strike of divine inspiration: Standing 98 feet tall on the 2300-foot summit of Corcovado Mountain, the statue acts like a lightning rod. The Brazilian National Institute for Space Research reports that lightning hits the statue three to five times every year.

Though the archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro, which maintains the statue, installed a lightning rod on the statue’s head during a 2010 restoration, it still occasionally suffers damage during electrical storms. The archdiocese plans to repair the thumb along with the right middle finger, which was also struck by lightning just last month.