Man struck by lightning on a Florida beach dies

Posted at 12:05 PM, Jul 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-25 12:05:28-04

A man who was struck by lightning at a Florida beach on Sunday has died, Clearwater Police said.

He was identified as 32-year-old Garry L. Perks of New Port Richey, Florida.

Perks went into cardiac arrest after he was hit by a lightning strike at Clearwater Beach near Tampa last weekend, fire rescue officials told CNN affiliate WFTS.

Seven other people were injured, and witnesses reported that the victims fell or were thrown when the lightning struck, Clearwater Police Department Lt. Michael Ogliaruso told CNN.

Five of the victims, including Perks, were taken to hospitals, Ogliaruso said. The other three had injuries that were not life-threatening.

Clearwater Fire and Rescue told WFTS that beachgoers should seek shelter when lightning and thunderstorms are in the area. But Ogliaruso said it’s not uncommon for people to stay on the beach and watch the storms.

“It was one of those bad Florida storms. It came, and now it’s gone sunny and clear out,” he said. “As dangerous as they are, they’re also pretty spectacular.”

Lightning strikes killed 20 people in the United States in 2018, including seven from Florida, according to the National Weather Service.