California lightning strikes 14 people in one day
A 20-year-old man died after lightning struck 14 people at a popular Los Angeles beach and a golf course, a coroner’s official said on Sunday.
Los Angeles County coroner’s Lt. Larry Dietz said the man was taken from Venice Beach and pronounced dead at a hospital.Nine people went to hospitals, including one who remained in critical condition.
Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Katherine Main earlier told AFP seven adults and a 15 year-old were rushed to area hospitals after the lightning stuck, but would not confirm any fatality.The lightning struck as rare summer thunderstorms swept through southern California.
Witnesses on the beach described scenes of panic as the sky darkened and lightning erupted seemingly out of nowhere, accompanied by thunder and rain.
“You could hear everybody screaming,” Angelica Roquemore told The Los Angeles Times.
Roger Davis told the newspaper his home shook and that he heard explosions. When he ran outside, his neighbor – a doctor – was administering CPR to a victim.
Steve Christensen said his friend tried to help when lifeguards began searching for a missing swimmer.
“He went out to the water to find him and walked right into him,” Christensen said. “He was face down on the bottom.”
Mr Christensen said his friend pulled the man from the water, and lifeguards began trying to resuscitate him before taking him away on a truck.Stuart Acher said he was struck while playing volleyball on the beach.
“All of a sudden there was a big flash of light and a boom, and it felt like someone punched me in the back of my head,” he told KABC-TV. “It went down my whole side of my right body, and my calves sort of locked up, and I fell over. And I looked up and everybody else was, you know, falling over.”
Other fire officials said most of those taken to hospitals were mainly shaken up and were expected to recover.The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said the 14th person was struck on a golf course on southern California’s Catalina Island. The 57-year-old man was reported in stable condition.