Lightning safety tips from National Weather Service
A lightning strike killed one person and injured as many as a dozen during a Fourth of July gathering in Georgetown County, South Carolina, fire officials said.
Four of the 12 people in the group were unresponsive when emergency responders arrived, reported WCBD. Some of the injured were hospitalized, TV station WCSC reports. That included one in critical condition and two with minor injuries, according to TV station WCVI.
The man who died has been identified as 44-year-old Ryan Gamble of Andrews, a father to two who worked at International Paper in Georgetown, according to the Myrtle Beach Sun News.
It happened around 2 p.m. near the Lawshe Plantation, a 1,000-acre wildlife habitat along the Black River, 60 miles south of Myrtle Beach. The injuries occurred when lightning struck a tree, and those standing nearby were stunned by the shock, according to the station.
Witnesses said “repeated strikes blasted the area,” the Charleston Post and Courier reports.
The group of “family and friends” ranged in age from 9 to 46, including Billie Camlin who said the bolt felt “like a shock through your body. Indescribable,” reported WPDE.
“We were just sitting in the river waiting for the storm to blow over. The lightning hit the tree and ran through all of us,” witness Joseph Dalzell told the station.
Georgetown County Fire and Rescue assistant chief Tony Hucks said the man who died had been taken to Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital in cardiac arrest, the Post and Courier reported.
The National Lightning Safety Council says there have been six lightning-related fatalities so far this year in the United States.