One of the largest statues of Christ in the world, just outside the western Colombian city of Cali, has been hit by lightning, causing great chunks to fly from the statue’s head, local media reported Wednesday.
A neighbor ran outside to find pieces of Christ’s head scattered on the ground after lightning struck the 60-year-old statue for the third time this year, according the Colombia’s El Pais newspaper.
According to its custodian, the first time lightning struck the 85 ft statue was on January 5. Eight days later, another bolt of lightning caused rock to fly everywhere; but no one was hurt.
|“The stones were so heavy that it took several of us to move them. They remained there for almost 15 days.”|
“The stones were so heavy that it took several of us to move them. They remained there for almost 15 days,” said the neighbor, identified only as Flavio.
The neighbor and custodian of the statue is concerned that the restoration will cost about $250 million.
“And if we don’t fix it, next time and [a lightning bolt] causes the head to fly off when people are around, they’ll say Christ killed people,” Flavio said.
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At the time of the strike, visitors came from all over and took fragments of the statue for souvenirs. Doris, the volunteer guide for the Christ monument, reported that tourists from other parts of Colombia took the most pieces.
The Corporation for Popular Recreation (CRP) assessed the Son of God in February, and found that the first two lightning bolts did not affect its structure. However, locals have expressed concern about the statue of Christ in general: the paint is damaged, and the surrounding area is also in poor condition.
“What we clearly have to do is restore the whole area, the surrounding restaurants, and construct an observation deck. We’re on it,” said a CRP spokesman.