8 injured following lightning strike at Florida beach, 1 struck directly

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CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – A day of sun and sand turned into a serious situation at a beach in Florida when a man was directly struck by lightning.

According to Clearwater Fire Department Deputy Chief Marvin Pettingill, eight people were hurt following the lightning strike.

Around 12:30 p.m. the Clearwater Beach lifeguards all left their towers due to bad weather. 

Officials tell us the lightning strike call came in around 12:43 p.m. Sunday on the beach near Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill.

The man in his 40’s struck by lightning suffered cardiac arrest. He is in critical condition.

“The guy that got directly hit, his whole shirt was burnt. There was no material where the lightning struck him. It was just a burnt hole,” eyewitness Ryan Tuttle said. “And then the other two were sitting on a bench over here. They were feeling the effects, but were okay.”

Four people were taken to Morton Plant Hospital, one person was taken to Tampa General Hospital with burns. Three others refused treatment.

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