A family of five Jehovah's Witnesses have been struck by lightning in Germany during a sudden storm.

A grandmother, her two daughters and two of their children were all struck by the lightning bolt in the garden of their home in Limbach-Oberfrohna near Dresden in Germany.

Nine-year-old grandson Elias was taken to hospital by air ambulance after being knocked unconscious by the lightning bolt. He remains in intensive care.

His six-year-old cousin Cedrick was also hospitalised along with his mother Ricarda, 32, but they have now been released.

Elias' mother Judith, 36, and the grandmother, Oma, fell and suffered head injuries, but their conditions are not believed to be serious.

The family had been playing on the lawn when the storm quickly developed. The lightning is believed to have struck a tree before running along a line in the grass.

Ricarda said that she had been preparing to chop wood when it began to rain heavily.

"It started to rain and we started to collect the toys. Suddenly it popped loudly and without warning," she told Bild newspaper.

"Then I felt a tingling sensation from head to toe.

There was chaos. Everybody was just acting on autopilot. A few minutes later the ambulance arrived," she told the paper.

In 1998, all 11 members of a football team were killed after being struck by lightning during a match in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The opposing team was reportedly unhurt.