NewsPinellas County

Actions

Coast Guard rescues 7 after lightning strikes boat off Clearwater

Passenger stresses importance of having an EPIRB
Coast Guard Lightning strike.png
Posted at 9:51 AM, Jun 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-27 17:31:05-04

CLEARWATER, Fla.  — The Coast Guard said seven people were rescued 100 miles off Clearwater after their boat was struck by lightning over the weekend.

The 39-foot boat was struck on Saturday. Officials said five women and two men were airlifted to safety.

Coast Guard Lightning strike2.png

Josh Guy, a passenger on the boat, spoke to GMA about the experience. According to GMA, Guy was the only passenger to feel the bolt pass through him and was knocked out for a few minutes.

RECOMMENDED: Florida is the lightning capital of the US; this is why

Guy described it as an "out-of-body experience" and said it took him around five minutes to come back around and understand what was going on.

Guy's girlfriend, who is 25 weeks pregnant, was also on board but she was uninjured along with the other passengers, GMA reported.

"I've been in storms in the past and I've never experienced anything like that," Glenn Rumer, who owns the boat, said. "The amount of lightning strikes was more than I've ever experienced. It was overwhelming."

VIDEO: Lightning strikes boat off Clearwater

"The most important thing for anybody listening to this or watching this is if you go offshore fishing at any point in time that you have what's called an EPIRB device," Guy said.

EPIRB stands for Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. It's a beacon that alerts the Coast Guard that a vessel registered to the device in is distress and need search and rescue, according to the Coast Guard.

"These alerts can often mean the difference between the life and death of persons on the water and have been critical to providing rescue teams with the necessary information to quickly and effectively respond," the Coast Guard said in a 2020 press release.

Click here for more information on how an EPIRB works.

The Coast Guard said Rumer is coordinating with commercial salvage to recover the disabled boat.