CLEARWATER, Fla. — Sab Keomany planned to spend time with his family on the beach while on vacation this week. But Sunday, his trip also included a close encounter with lightning at Clearwater Beach.
The incident sent him and another man to the hospital after trying to get off the beach.
“I was just shocked pretty much,” said Keomany.
He said they saw some dark clouds over the water, but when it started raining and when they heard thunder, they tried to pack up and leave.
“As I was walking back, there was a lot of people trying to get off the beach of course, and it was just me and another gentleman which the other one was at the hospital right now,” Keomany said. “I believe lightning struck him and I was in the same vicinity and for some reason, I fell to the floor, I didn’t acknowledge what happened and by the time I got up I was kind of dazed and confused.”
Officials said they took the other man to the hospital where he remains in critical condition at last check.
Keomany said he was able to walk away, but when he later felt tingling in his feet, he decided to call 911 and go to the hospital. He is now back with his family.
“I’m OK for now, just want to make sure he’s gonna be OK as well,” Keomany said.
Florida is known as the lightning capital of the United States.
“Unfortunately, it seems like it happens all too often,” said Rob Shaw, a spokesman for Clearwater police.
As more people visit the beach this summer, officials remind beachgoers not to wait until it’s too late to get off the beach.
“The bottom line, they always need to keep an eye to the sky. The weather service likes to preach that lightening can reach out 10 miles from where a storm is. They also use the popular thing if you hear thunder when thunder roars, go indoors,” said Shaw.
Shaw said that also means it’s a good time to get inside when dark clouds are forming.
“Don’t seek shelter under an object that can become hit,” he said.
Keomany is also stressing for people to take the weather seriously, too. While thankful he’s OK, he is also concerned for the other man who was struck.
“The main thing is just don’t take life for granted because anything could happen at any time,” he said.