Two men were wounded, one seriously, after a lightning strike in Clearwater Beach, Florida, on Sunday afternoon, according to authorities.
The Clearwater Fire and Rescue Department said the incident occurred around 2:15 pm in the northern part of Clearwater Beach, halfway between the waterline and the dunes.
“They were both trying to leave the beach as the weather deteriorated when the strike occurred,” the Clearwater Police Department tweeted.
LIGHTING SAFETY: THESE ARE THE ACTIVITIES LINKED TO THE GREATEST DEATH
Firefighters told FOX13 that a 37-year-old man was unconscious and not breathing when a Clearwater police officer approached him and started CPR until the lifeguard arrived and took over the medical treatment.
Rescuers arrived and began treating the 37-year-old victim, who was taken to a critically ill area hospital.
The second victim, a 43-year-old man, was a few meters from the first victim when the lightning struck. He was also taken to an area hospital and was included in stable condition.
Paul Dellegatto, FOX13’s chief meteorologist in Tampa, said the storm “happened quickly” on Sunday afternoon.
Police said the incident showed that it is always important to “keep an eye on the sky” during the summer months.
“And as our friends at @NWSTampaBay (Tampa Bay National Weather Service) say, when thunder roars, it comes in,” police tweeted.
THIS STATE IS THE “LIGHTING CAPITAL” OF THE UNITED STATES
The state of Florida has the highest number of lightning deaths, with 47 lightning deaths recorded from 2010 to 2019.
Between 2006 and 2019, a review of some 418 fatal lightning strikes found that 62 percent of deaths were related to leisure activities.
Fishing has been responsible for 40 of those deaths, while being on the beach, camping, and farming or ranching account for the bulk of the deaths, according to data reviewed by the National Lightning Safety Council (NLSC).
John Jensenius, a lightning safety specialist with the National Lightning Safety Council (NLSC), told Fox News last month that there is a pattern for most of them.
CLICK HERE TO GET MORE CLIMATE COVERAGE FROM FOX NEWS
Activities in which people can be outside and not know if a storm is coming when they are camping or fishing because they are using a motor in a boat that drowns the sound of thunder are factors to consider.
If someone is on the beach, the sound of the surf can also drown out distant thunder noises.
CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP
“The key is that if there is any threat, thunder or what looks like a threatening sky, you should be able to get to a safe place very quickly,” he said.