15-year-old girl dies after being struck by lightning off Tybee Island

Photo: Getty Images

ByWTOC Staff and Laura Garrison | Published:Jun. 12, 2021 at 5:00 PM EDT

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - A 15-year-old girl has died after being struck by lightning off Tybee Island Saturday afternoon.

Police received a call at 2:37 p.m. regarding a person struck by lightning while swimming near 17th Street, according to aFacebook postfrom the Tybee Island Fire Department.

Officials say the Tybee Island Fire Department and lifeguards performed CPR on the girl before she was transported to a hospital. There was “an extended wait for emergency medical personnel to arrive,” according to the Facebook post from Tybee Police.

The girl was pronounced dead at the hospital. Police say the victim and her family were visiting Tybee Island from Alabama.

The 15-year-old girl was the second lightning fatality of the year in the U.S. On Wednesday, a 70-year-old man died after being struck by lightning while golfing in Burlington County, New Jersey, according to theNational Lightning Safety Council.

Data collected by the council shows a total of 17 lightning fatalities in 2020. The most recent lightning fatality in Georgia prior to Saturday occurred on Friday, July 3, 2020 when a 9-year-old girl was struck while walking in Moultrie, according to the council.

Georgia ranked eighth in the nation with nine fatal lightning strikes between 2010 and 2019, according to data compiled by the council. Florida, just to the south, ranks first in the nation with 47 fatalities between 2010 and 2019.

Beach activities such as swimming have been linked to 25 percent of lightning fatalities since 2006, according to John Jensenius, a meteorologist and Lightning Safety Specialist with the National Lightning Safety Council. He says only fishing has contributed to more lightning fatalities in the U.S.

Camping, farming, riding a bicycle, motorcycle or ATV and boating have all been identified by the National Lightning Safety Council as other “activities that contribute most to U.S. lightning fatalities.”

For more information on how to stay safe when lightning strikes while at the beach or out on the water,click here.

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