London: A Peruvian footballer, who was struck by lightning while playing in a cup semifinal, is reportedly recovering in hospital and his teammate has said that their friend is out of danger.
Joao Contreras Fuentes had been playing for Sport Aguila in the Copa Peru tie against Fuerza Minera when the incident happened as the players waited to get the second half underway.
In the video footage of the incident players could be seen running to the aid of the 21-year-old, who collapsed when he was hit by the bolt. He was carried off the pitch and taken by ambulance to hospital, The Mirror reported.
An assistant referee, Abraham Loayza Morales, was also hurt in the incident at the Mariscal Castilla stadium in Lima. Sport Aguila captain Amilcar Lobon revealed that his teammate's condition was improving.
Lobon said that he thanks God that his teammate is okay, and getting better, and added that now they are just thinking about Fuentes' recovery. He said that it's difficult to imagine this situation that just doesn't happen in Huancayo.
Lobon further said that the important thing is that their friend Fuentes is out of danger.
The horrifying incident sparked media speculation in Peru that Contreras had died, leading to an angry reaction from the Peruvian Football Federation (PFF). It said in a statement on its website the said that unfortunately the force of nature has caused a serious impact to the health of one of the Sport Aguila players and one of the refereeing team.
The PFF stated that they regret that some media released definitive news about the death of the Sport Aguila player, without having checked the news and in clear violation of the fundamental rules of prudence, since the player and the referee have family and therefore deserve respect.