One man died and at least eight people were injured in a
lightning strike during a rare thunderstorm at Venice Beach
in Los Angeles, officials say.
The bolt of electricity made a loud crack that sounded like
an explosion on a warm and overcast afternoon, witnesses
"I heard this crackle and there was this giant bolt of
lightning shooting across the sky and the loudest thunder
I've ever heard," witness Joe Doro told KCAL-TV.
Victims were apparently in the water or very close to it when
the lightning struck, local officials told the broadcaster.
The eight survivors were hospitalized for treatment and
observation after the lightning hit near Ocean Front Walk
facing the Pacific Ocean, around 2:15pm on Sunday (local
time), Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Katherine Main
A 20-year-old man taken to Marina Del Rey Hospital was later
pronounced dead, according to the Los Angeles county
The cause of death was still being determined, a spokesman
said. One other person was in critical condition, Main said,
adding that a 15-year-old was among the victims.
On rocky Catalina Island off the coast of nearby Long Beach,
a 57-year-old man was injured after a lightning strike, the
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.
The National Weather Service had predicted a chance of
thunderstorms around Southern California on Sunday, and
lightning was also being blamed for a power outage affecting
about 300 customers in Redondo Beach, some 12 miles (19 km)
south of Venice.
Lightning injuries or fatalities can occur during a direct
strike or after a current is passed through the ground or
jumps from a taller object, such as a tree, according to the
National Weather Service.
Symptoms can range from cardiac arrest and injury to the
nervous system to muscle soreness, headache, and confusion.