50-year-old woman fatally struck by lightning in Sarasota

Posted at 7:18 PM, Aug 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-26 23:19:45-04

A woman was killed by a lightning strike while she was under a gazebo at a park.

There were thunderstorms in the area, Friday evening. The 50-year-old woman was at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, which is located at Cocoanut Ave. and 25th Street. Her name has not been released.

"I just saw a flash and then it was 'bam'," Daniel Bright said.

Bright said he lives half a block from the park. He said his friend, who he has known for more than 20 years, was the woman who was killed this evening.

"It's a shock to hear someone (was) hit by lightning…let alone a girl that I've known a long time," Daniel Bright said.

According to Daniel Bright, his friend enjoyed spending time at the park.

"She lives with her family nearby, but she comes over to the park and sits and hangs out (to) talk to people and stuff," Daniel Bright said.

According to the National Weather Service, when you hear thunder remember that lightning follows it closely; there is no where outside that is considered safe during a storm and people should stay inside for about 30 minutes after they hear the last roar of thunder.

Including today's lighting fatality, the NWS reports 31 deaths due to lightning in the United States; Seven of those people were killed in Florida.