8 injured after lightning strike at Florida beach, 1 struck directly, officials say

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FLORIDA (FOX NEWS) – One person is in critical condition and seven others suffered injuries on Sunday after lightning struck at a Florida beach, officials said.

One man in his 40s, who was at Clearwater Beach, about 50 minutes from Tampa., was “directly hit by lightning” on Sunday afternoon and went into cardiac arrest, according to Joelle Castelli, public communications director for the city of Clearwater.

Castelli said the man was in critical condition.

She said three other people were rushed to a hospital in Clearwater with non-life-threatening injuries and another person was taken to a Tampa hospital with burns. She added that three other patients with minor injuries refused to be transported to the hospital.

Castelli told Fox News all the people affected by the lighting were in the beach area behind a seafood restaurant called “Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill” around 12:45 p.m.

She said about fifteen minutes beforehand, Clearwater beach lifeguards all left their towers “due to bad weather.”

Castelli reminded beachgoers to take cover and go to a safe place when lightning and thunder are present, adding that Clearwater Fire and Rescue used the phrase, “when you hear the roar, go indoor.”

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