Man killed, 13 hurt as lightning strikes California beach

Victim (20) dies in hospital after incident on Venice Beach in Los Angeles

Lifeguards bring ashore the victim of a lightning strike in Venice, California. Lightning from a line of summer thunderstorms moving over the Los Angeles area killed a 20-year-old man and injured 13 other people yesterday, officials said. Photograph: Jonathan Alcorn/Reuters

Lifeguards bring ashore the victim of a lightning strike in Venice, California. Lightning from a line of summer thunderstorms moving over the Los Angeles area killed a 20-year-old man and injured 13 other people yesterday, officials said. Photograph: Jonathan Alcorn/Reuters

 

Lightning from a line of summer thunderstorms moving over the Los Angeles area killed a 20-year-old man and injured 13 other people yesterday, officials said.

The victim was taken to hospital from Venice Beach in a grave condition after a lightning strike there in the afternoon, the Los Angeles Fire Department said. The county coroner said he died a few hours later at Marina del Rey Hospital, and officials did not release his identity.

Thirteen other people were evaluated on the scene, at the south end of the beach in front of Marina del Rey, said Katherine Main, a spokeswoman for the fire department. Six adults and a 15-year-old were taken to area hospitals; one was in critical condition, while the others were in fair condition.

The victims were on the beach or in the water when the lightning struck. The National Weather Service advised Angelenos to stay indoors if they heard thunder, after a spotter reported “cloud to ground” lightning over the area, which is near the Los Angeles International Airport.

Witnesses described seeing a huge bolt of lightning hit the area about 2.20pm. “Lightning just hit the roof of my house,” Finn Mulford said on Twitter. “Huge bang and explosion, roof tiles flew up everywhere, house rocked... Am I dead?”

Earlier, the storm passed over Santa Catalina Island, where a 57-year-old man on a golf course was struck by lightning, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The man’s injuries were not life-threatening, and he was released from a hospital after a few hours, Sgt Robert Berardi said.

Beachgoers said they were surprised by the storm. Joe Flagg (19), was playing volleyball with three friends when the lightning struck. “All of a sudden, out of nowhere, there was this huge flash and the loudest bang we’ve ever heard,” he said. “Everyone just fell to the ground.”

The next moment, people were rushing to a man who was lying on the ground, Mr Flagg said. Bystanders spent 10 minutes performing CPR before the man regained consciousness, he said.

“We thought it would be nice today,” he said. “It was really the scariest thing ever.”

New York Times