Lightning strike hits Venice Beach; 1 dead, 1 critical

Emergency personnel respond to the 3500 block of Ocean Front Walk after lightning strikes Venice Beach Sunday, July 27, 2014.

A 20-year-old man was killed and another critically injured after lightning struck Venice Beach on Sunday, the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

Firefighters said a bolt of lightning hit the water and the electrical current then traveled, hitting swimmers and surfers near the 3500 block of Ocean Front Walk around 2:30 p.m.

Thirteen people, including a 15-year-old, were evaluated at the scene, and eight patients were hospitalized after being struck near the Driftwood lifeguard tower, city fire spokeswoman Katherine Main said.

Five others were injured, but did not require hospitalization, she said.

The man who died was swimming in the water and went missing after the lightning strike. He was pulled from the water 90 minutes later, given CPR and transported to Marina Del Rey Hospital in critical condition, where he succumbed to his injuries. His identity was not immediately released.

The other man who was critically injured was a surfer. He was transported to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood.

The deceased swimmer and the surfer were closest to the lightning strike, and reportedly bore the brunt of the electrical current.

Two people were transported with minor injuries to UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica. Officials say the majority of the victims were mainly shaken up and were expected to recover.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti released the following statement on the lightening strike Sunday night: "Amy's and my prayers are with the victims of the lightning strike today at Venice Beach. This tragedy reminds us that we can take nothing for granted or underestimate the power of nature."

Those who were at the scene and saw the lightning strike say it was a horrifying experience. Others said they felt the electricity as it surged through the water.

"Out of nowhere, we heard like a thunderstorm," witness Jason Alas said. "It was like really, really loud."

Los Angeles County Fire Lifeguard Division Capt. Danny Douglas said he had never seen anything like this before.

Stuart Acher was struck by lightning while playing volleyball.

"We went about our game and then 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," Acher said. "It went down my whole side of my right body, and my calves sort of locked up, and I fell over. And I looked up and everybody else was, you know, falling over."

Acher was treated by paramedics at the scene and released. He felt all right and went back to playing volleyball.

Man struck by lightning on golf course on Catalina Island

At least three lightning strikes sparked two brush fires in the Santa Catalina Island area around 12:30 p.m. Sunday. The fires were quickly doused.

A 57-year-old man was struck by lightning on the golf course, Avalon Sheriff's Station deputies said. He was treated and transported to Catalina Island Medical Center in stable condition.

Lightning and fires caused downed power lines and minor flooding in the area.

Car catches fire after lightning strikes home in Redondo Beach

A car caught on fire after lightning struck a home in Redondo Beach Sunday, knocking wires down.

The incident occurred in the 1600 block of Haynes Lane.

Three to four homes were damaged. No one was injured.

The unusual weather came from monsoon moisture that brought a line of brief but fierce afternoon thunderstorms to the region. This was the first death attributed to lightning in California this year.
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