Georgia authorities confirmed that an Alabama teenager died after being struck by lightning on a beach.
The Tybee Island Police Department confirmed that the girl was 15 years old. She has not been publicly identified as of Monday morning (June 14).
The 911 call came in to the Tybee Island Police Department around 2:37 p.m. on Saturday (June 12), reporting that a girl had been struck by lightning while swimming in the ocean near 17th Street. Police and fire crews responded to help, along with lifeguards already on the scene. Lifeguards were administering CPR to the victim when police and fire crews arrived, according to a Tybee Island Police Department press release issued Sunday (June 13).
Rather than waiting for Emergency Medical Services personnel to arrive, police began to transport the girl to the hospital with a police escort. An ambulance took the girl on HIghway 80 and police escorted the emergency vehicle, which continued to transport the girl despite a call for a helicopter.
The girl was pronounced dead at the hospital.
“The men and women of the City of Tybee Island are deeply saddened by the loss of this young woman and our hearts remain with her family and friends,” the Tybee Island Police Department said.
According to the National Weather Service:
“Lightning is a major cause of storm related deaths in the U.S. A lightning strike can result in a cardiac arrest (heart stopping) at the time of the injury, although some victims may appear to have a delayed death a few days later if they are resuscitated but have suffered irreversible brain damage.
“According to the NWS Storm Data, over the last 30 years (1989-2018) the U.S. has averaged 43 reported lightning fatalities per year. Only about 10% of people who are struck by lightning are killed, leaving 90% with various degrees of disability. More recently, in the last 10 years (2009-2018), the U.S. has averaged 27 lightning fatalities.”