Christ the Redeemer
A lightning flashes over the statue of Christ the Redeemer on top of the Corcovado hill in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on January 16, 2014. Photo by AFP
Text size
related tags

Lightning broke a finger off the right hand of Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Father Omar, rector of the shrine that holds the statue, confirmed Friday.

Father Omar told the radio station Globo that lightning frequently strikes the 30-meter-high statue, a symbol of Rio that overlooks the Brazilian city from the peak of the 700-meter Corcovado mountain. Its right hand had been damaged some time ago, but the finger finally broke off in a storm late Thursday.

"They say lightning does not strike the same spot twice. But with the Christ it does," the priest said with a smile.

A lightning rod and other equipment are in place "to protect the image," but they do not always do the trick, he said.

Father Omar noted that people who work at the site are usually warned in advance by city officials about electrical storms so they can ensure the safety of the thousands of visitors at the site atop Corcovado Mountain.

"I have already endured the situation of being at the Christ at a time of rain and a lot of lightning, and it is scary. But we have a plan to quickly take all visitors away from there," the priest said.

The statue is set to be refurbished next month, when the thumb and other damage will be fixed.