CLEARWATER, Fla. — Two people were injured after being struck by lightning at Clearwater Beach.
The Clearwater Fire and Rescue Department said around 2:15 p.m., two people were injured after the lightning strike.
One person, 37, was unconscious and not breathing when he was reached by officers. Officers then began CPR until lifeguards could arrive and take over medical treatment.
Clearwater Fire and Rescue officials then began treating him. He was taken to Morton Plant Hospital and is in critical condition.
The second person, 43, was a few feet away. Officials said the man was experiencing numbness but was able to walk. He is stable.
The incident happened on the beach at the end of Somerset Street about halfway between the waterline and the dunes.
Multiple crew members are on scene at #ClearwaterBeach, where we have two patients from a lightning strike. One is in critical condition and headed to Morton Plant Hospital, the other is in stable condition at this time.— Clearwater Fire & Rescue Department (@clearwaterfire) July 5, 2020
Clearwater Fire and Rescue says the two men are not related.
Officials said both victims were trying to leave the beach as the weather worsened when the lightning strike happened.
Several people were at the beach when the incident happened. They say they saw several lightning strikes leading up to the one that hit at the beach.
“All of the sudden we heard, you know, at the same time, lightning and thunder, like, ‘oh my God, that hit the beach,’ and then five seconds later we saw a lady running to the police car, which luckily was within 100 or 200 feet," said Tim Rotvig, Clearwater resident.
“If you can hear the thunder sound, you don’t want to be around. You have to leave immediately. The first rumble of thunder, you need to seek shelter. As we know, lighting can strike out very far in advance of an approaching storm cell," said Scott Magness, District Commander with Clearwater Fire and Rescue.
Clearwater Fire and Rescue is issuing a warning to all beachgoers to know the forecast when you're headed to the beach. They said to download an app that will alert you when there is lightning nearby.