A man has been killed and more than a dozen people were hurt after lightning strikes on Los Angeles’ Venice Beach on Sunday.
The unnamed 20-year-old died as he was transported to Marina Del Rey Hospital for treatment, the Los Angeles Times reports. Nine others were hospitalised following the flash thunderstorm.
The newspaper cites Stuart Seto of the National Weather Service as stating at least four lighting strikes hit the Venice Beach area around 2.20pm. He said the strikes hit the water and the beach, but did not specify where.
A bolt of lightning is reported to have hit the water near the pier, electrifying it and “zapping” swimmers and surfers in the area, KTLA 5 writes.
Surfer Mace Camhe said: “We were next to our carbon fibres board, so we got zapped pretty good.”
Jermaine Roquemore added: “Just out of nowhere we heard all this lightning slap across the sky. And it slammed down, just this big old strike… electrical current just hit the water.”
One person was pulled from the water and given CPR, though Los Angeles County coroner’s Lt Larry Dietz would not confirm if that was the man who died.
Steve Christensen told the Associated Press his friend had been body-surfing and was sitting on the beach when lifeguards began looking for a missing swimmer.
Stuart Acher was playing volleyball when the storm struck and he too was hit by lightning He told KABC-TV: “All of a sudden there was a big flash of light and a boom, and it felt like someone punched me in the back of my head.
“It went down the whole right side of my body, and my calves sort of locked up and I fell over.
“And I looked up and everybody else was, you know, falling over.”