Lightning strikes at Florida’s Clearwater Beach, injures 8 people

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CLEARWATER, Fla.  — A lightning strike Sunday at a Florida beach injured eight people, Clearwater Police Department Lt. Michael Ogliaruso said.

Witnesses reported seeing the eight people either falling or being thrown when the lightning struck Clearwater Beach, near Tampa, Ogliaruso told CNN.

One man in his 40s was directly hit by the strike, fire rescue officials told CNN affiliate WFTS-TV The man went into cardiac arrest and is in critical condition, WFTS reported.

Three employees of a jet ski rental company and two foreign tourists were among the injured, though the extent of their injuries was unclear, Ogliaruso said.

Four people, including the man struck by lightning, were taken to the hospital, Ogliaruso said

Three of those taken to the hospital had non-life threatening injuries. The three others involved declined treatment.

It’s not uncommon for people to stay on the beach and watch the storms, Ogliaruso said.

“It was one of those bad Florida storms. It came and now it’s gone sunny and clear out,” Ogliaruso said. “As dangerous as they are, they’re also pretty spectacular.”

Clearwater Fire and Rescue told WFTS that beachgoers should take cover and go to a safe place when lightning and thunder storms are in the vicinity.

“Clearwater Fire and Rescue uses the phrase: When you hear the roar, go indoors,” the fire department said.

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