One dead after lightning strikes crowd at Californian beach

Monday 28 July 2014 23.37
Witnesses said the bolt of electricity made a loud crack that sounded like an explosion
Witnesses said the bolt of electricity made a loud crack that sounded like an explosion

One man has died and at least eight people were injured in a lightning strike during a rare summer thunderstorm at Venice Beach in Los Angeles, officials have said.

A 20-year-old man taken to Marina Del Rey Hospital was later pronounced dead, according to the Los Angeles county coroner's department.

The cause of death was still being determined, a spokesman said.

One other person was in critical condition.

The bolt of electricity made a loud crack that sounded like an explosion, witnesses said.

Victims were apparently in the water or very close to it when the lightning struck, local officials said.

The eight survivors were taken to hospital for treatment and observation after the lightning hit near Ocean Front Walk facing the Pacific Ocean, around 2.15pm (10.15pm Irish time), said Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Katherine Main.

On rocky Catalina Island off the coast of nearby Long Beach, a 57-year-old man was injured after a lightning strike, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.

The National Weather Service had predicted a chance of thunderstorms around Southern California yesterday.

Lightning injuries or fatalities can occur during a direct strike or after a current is passed through the ground or jumps from a taller object, such as a tree, according to the National Weather Service.

Symptoms can range from cardiac arrest and injury to the nervous system to muscle soreness, headache, and confusion.

Keywords: california