The condition of a 50-year-old man injured by nearby lightning strike on Thursday at Sand Key Park is said to be improving.
Tampa resident Samuel Sepulveda's medical status was expected to by changed from critical to stable sometime on Friday.
In a statement from Largo Medical Center, cardiovascular physicians said Sepulveda was still experiencing some atrial fibrillation-like heart rhythms. They planned to monitor him for another 48-72 hours.
Fire rescue officials said Sepulveda was in the vicinity of the strike and not directly hit when the bolt hit around 11:30 a.m. on Thursday.
He was about 25 yards away from a lifeguard stand when the lightning hit.
Lifeguard Jorge Perdomo helped Sepulveda before paramedics arrived also felt the strike but was not hurt.
"All of a sudden, two strikes right on the beach," Perdomo recalled.
Former police officer Bill Osowski was the first to run to Sepulveda's aid.
"As I got him up, he was blue in the face and had sand in his mouth. I got my hand in his mouth and pulled a bunch of sand out," Osowski said.
A second lightning strike caused caused some palm trees and a grassy area to catch fire. The fire was quickly extinguished.
It was not raining or actively storming at the time. Officials say it points to the unpredictable nature of summer thunderstorms in Florida.
Witnesses told Action News reporter Cameron Polom that Sepulveda had been relaxing on the beach with his wife when the bolt hit.