Lightning Strikes Florida Beach Leaving 8 Injured: Report
Record-setting heat in parts of the country fueled ferocious storms, which lead to a number of life-threatening lightning strikes — including one at a Florida beach that left eight people injured on Sunday afternoon.
The lightning was first spotted at Clearwater beach outside Tampa around 12:42 p.m., ABC News affiliate WFTS reported.
A man in his 40s was later struck by a bolt while in the area of local seafood restaurant, Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill, Clearwater Fire and Rescue officials told WFTS. The victim is currently in critical condition at Morton Plant Hospital after going in to cardiac arrest on the scene.
Others who were injured in the strike are in good condition, CBS News affiliate WTSP reported — including three who were taken to Morton Plan Hospital and a fifth patient who was transported to Tampa General Hospital with burns.
Three people injured on the scene also refused transport and were not immediately identified, according to the outlet.
Clearwater Fire and Rescue District Chief, Greg Newland, praised the good samaritans at the beach for quickly jumping to action by pulling those hurt to safety and performing CPR on the man who was struck.
“They put themselves at risk, major thunderstorm going on, lightning popping every couple seconds, and they actually ran out on to the beach and were able to pull the victims into a more safe location,” Newland told WFTS.
Due to the intense weather conditions, Lifeguards had left their towers around 12:30 p.m., police said according to Fox News.
It’s not uncommon for beachgoers to stay on the sand to watch storms pass, the Clearwater Fire and Rescue department officials said to WFTS. But staying there during a can be dangerous.
“Beachgoers should take cover and go to a safe place when lightning and thunder are present,” the officials told the outlet. “As a reminder, Clearwater Fire and Rescue uses the phrase: ‘When you hear the roar, go indoor.'”
The Florida strike was one of three lightning strikes reported in the U.S. over the weekend.
Also on Sunday, a 16-year-old boy was struck by lightning at a soccer tournament in Aurora, Illinois, Chicago ABC station WLS reported. He remained conscious and was taken to a local hospital and is now reportedly in good condition.
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Another child between the age of 5 and 6, was struck in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on Sunday, as well. Philadelphia’s NBC-10 reported the child was taken to the hospital in unknown condition.