Boat captain killed by lightning, passenger injured in Florida
A boat captain was killed in a lightning strike that hit his vessel off the central Florida coast near Orlando, CBS affiliate WKMG-TV reported.
Officials at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission identified the captain Monday as 39-year-old Peter Strong, of West Melbourne, according to the station. One passenger who was on board Strong’s boat when the lightning strike happened sustained minor injuries in the incident and was transported to a hospital for treatment.
First responders received a call reporting a vessel that had been struck by lightning while Strong’s boat was out on a stretch of Indian River, a lagoon adjacent to Florida’s Atlantic shore, near the highway U.S. 1, authorities with Brevard County Fire Rescue reportedly said.
Officials will investigate the lightning strike as a boating accident, according to WKMG-TV.
The lightning strike that killed Strong occurred as severe storms hit parts of central Florida, including Brevard County, on Sunday. Even so, fatal incidents involving lightning strikes are relatively rare in the United States.
Formal records indicate that about 20 people are killed in lightning strikes across the country each year, while hundreds more are injured, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Of the 19 deaths reported through September of last year in connection with lightning strikes, four were reported in Florida, with one reported in New Smyrna Beach, another reported in Winter Springs and two more reported in Orlando, the agency’s data shows.
Florida’s death toll linked to lightning strikes was the highest of any U.S. state in 2022, based on the data through September. Washington, D.C., followed with the second-highest number after three people were killed by lightning near the White House last August.
Georgia and Puerto Rico reported two fatalities each from lightning. Alabama, California, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio and Wyoming each reported one death due to lightning strikes, according to the NOAA.
CBS News contacted Brevard County Fire Rescue and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to confirm details about the lightning strike that killed Strong, but did not receive immediate replies.