Lightning strike kills 19 cows taking shelter under tree

Lightning strike kills 19 cows taking shelter under tree
(Source: Victor Benson)
(Source: Victor Benson)
A line can be seen on the tree from the lightning strike. (Source: KLTV Staff)
A line can be seen on the tree from the lightning strike. (Source: KLTV Staff)

HALLSVILLE, TX (KLTV) - Some East Texans say a storm Sunday night killed nineteen cows. Witnesses say lightning hit a tree just north of Hallsville during the storm, killing the cows that were standing underneath it for shelter.

It was a tragic ending for the cows trying to get relief from a storm. Victor Benson saw it happen.

"All of a sudden, a lightning bolt came down and the cows just fell," he explained.

"In the blink of an eye a lightning bolt, and there was lightning everywhere, but just one (bolt) and it was over," he added.

Nineteen cows were killed as a result of that strike, about a third of the herd in the pasture where they were. A mark is still visible on the tree where the lightning hit.  

"We kept thinking 'oh they'll get up.' Some of them were getting up and stumbling away, and I called the owner and he goes 'No that's not normal,'" Benson explained.

They were owned by the Andersons who have hundreds of cows in the area.

"It's not something you see every day. Just kind of surreal to see it," Ashley Anderson said.

Her husband has been working with cows his entire life. She said he has never had anything like this happen.

"Not any of his (cows). And especially not to this magnitude," she explained.  

The Andersons say while this is a significant loss, they don't plan to do anything differently with their cows.

"It's just a freak thing; I mean they were just staying out of the rain. There's really, to my knowledge, nothing you can do to prevent this," Anderson said.

It was a sign of the power of nature that many in the area won't soon forget.

The Andersons also said that the cows were removed quickly after the storm. They say they gave them to people who were able to use them for meat.

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