A nine-year-old boy has died after apparently being struck by lightning on a football field in Blackpool, police have said.
Officers from Blackpool police were called shortly after 5pm on Tuesday to fields near to School Road to reports a child had been injured.
Emergency services attended and the boy was taken to hospital but died a short time later.
Police said, although inquiries are still ongoing, it is believed the boy was struck by lightning.
The boy’s family have been informed and are being supported by officers.
In a statement posted online Spirit of Youth Junior Football Club said: “It is with deepest regret that we have to report the news that the young boy who was struck by lightning earlier this evening has sadly passed away.
“The tragic incident happened on our home ground at Common Edge playing fields but it was not during a club training session.
“As a club, we are heartbroken and we offer our deepest condolences to the boy’s family.
“Spirit of Youth is a family and we are entrenched in the local community, and we will give whatever support is required to both the family and to those that were with him at the time.
“We would ask that people respect the privacy of the family at this most tragic of times.
“Rest In Peace young man.”
Detective Superintendent Nick Connaughton of Lancashire Police said: “This is a truly devastating incident and our thoughts are wholeheartedly with the family and friends of the young boy, who has passed away, at this very sad and distressing time.”
Road closures in place following the incident have now been lifted.
Tributes paid to victim
Residents across town have paid tribute to the boy, the Blackpool Gazette reported.
Emma Bunnell said: "There are no words, just truly heartbreaking. I can not begin to even imagine what his parents and family are going through, it has broken me. Thoughts and prayers are with his family."
Debbie Willis said: "Never in a million years would we imagine our children to be tragically taken from us in such a way, my heartfelt condolences to his family and friends at such a heartbreaking time, thoughts and prayers are with you all."
"A little boy just doing what he loved who sadly won't be coming home," said Lisa Skinner, adding, "Sending thoughts and prayers to his loved ones. RIP little man xx"
"Absolutely heart-wrenching," began Diane Jeanette Langridge.
"My thoughts and prayers are with this young boy and his family and friends and all who witnessed this utter tragedy.
"Heartbreaking condolences to all who loved this young lad. I think the whole of Blackpool is in complete shock. I will light a candle and pray for you and your family."
A heartbroken Nicola Collins said: "How desperately sad. Utterly heartbreaking. Sincere thoughts and sympathy to the family and friends of this little one. "
Mark Christopher Ratcliff added: "So sad. I send love to all the family and I hope the Blackpool community will help and support with anything."
Mark Bate, whose own boy is a similar age and has played football on the same field, said: "This is so sad. My boy is coming up to 9. He lives there. I’ve watched him play football on that same field.
"Absolutely shocking news, just going about his business playing a game like we all did at that age. I can’t even imagine the pain of his family. So sad."
Anybody with information about the incident, or who witnessed it and has not yet spoken to police is asked to get in touch on 101, quoting log 1169 of May 11.