8 hurt in lightning strike at Florida’s Clearwater Beach

Lightning (Getty Images)

CLEARWATER, Fla. — A lightning strike Sunday, July 21 at a Florida beach injured eight people, Clearwater Police Department Lt. Michael Ogliaruso said.

Witnesses reported seeing the eight people either falling or being thrown when the lightning struck Clearwater Beach, near Tampa. Ogliaruso told CNN.

One man in his 40s was directly hit by the strike, fire rescue officials toldĀ CNN affiliate WFTS-TV. The man went into cardiac arrest and was in critical condition, WFTS reported.

Three employees of a jet ski rental company and two foreign tourists were among the injured, though the extent of their injuries was unclear, Ogliaruso said.

Four people, including the man struck by lightning, were taken to the hospital, Ogliaruso said.

Three of those taken to the hospital had injuries not believed to be life-threatening. The three others involved declined treatment.

It’s not uncommon for people to stay on the beach and watch the storms, Ogliaruso said.

“It was one of those bad Florida storms. It came, and now it’s gone. Sunny and clear out,” Ogliaruso said. “As dangerous as they are, they’re also pretty spectacular.”

Clearwater Fire and Rescue told WFTS that beachgoers should take cover and go to a safe place when lightning and thunder storms are in the vicinity.

“Clearwater Fire and Rescue uses the phrase: When you hear the roar, go indoors,” the fire department said.

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