Casualty in the storm: The iconic Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio gets hit by lightning


Casualty in the storm: The iconic Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio gets hit by lightning

The Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro from atop the Corcovado Mountain in Brazil was damaged in a storm last month. According to the BBC, the right thumb and head were chipped as a result of lightning. Pictures captured of the event create the interesting illusion that the lightning is actually emerging from the statues hand. Some video footage of the storm was also captured.

Christ the Redeemer gets hit by lightning
Video by ITN news

Due to the fact that the 98-foot (30 meter) tall statue stands on top of a steep mountain, it is hit by lightning several times a year. Erosion is another major issue faced.

Clezio Dutra, an engineer responsible for the statue told the local Brazilian O Globo newspaper that: “There’s a lightning rod that covers part of the head and two others that extend across the arms, but they only reach the wrist…So when the lightning struck the thumb, the damage occurred. We have already approved a project to extend the lightning rods.”

The priest of the shrine, Omar Raposo, told local reporters: “they say that lightning never strikes the same place twice, but with Christ it does.”

The make-over

The Archdiocese of Rio, who manages the statue, said that the statue started undergoing repair shortly after the storm. It will however be a lengthy repair process as the statues was hit with a barrage of bolts and already had some damage from previous storms too. In 2010 the Redeemer underwent $4 million in renovations to repair badly eroded parts of the face and hands.

The statue’s right middle finger, right thumb and face will be the focus of restorations. The Archdiocese is also eager to refurbish the soapstone mosaic outer shell of the statue, but this means that six million tiny tiles of the same stone would have to be found. “We have sufficient stone for current restoration work – the concern is for later major work, such as for 2016 (Olympics)” Clezio Dutra explained to Rio daily O Dia.

Christ the Redeemer was completed in 1931, and has now become one of the most popular attractions for tourists in Rio. The statue gets more than 600,000 visitors per year.

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About Author

Hendrika is Belgian but she considers herself a citizen of the world as she has lived in many different countries before moving to Peru. She fell in love with South America after her first visit to the continent in Bolivia, and has since then spent a lot of time traveling in the area. She especially enjoys Peru for its diversity, delicious food, and rich history.

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