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Lightning claims a life, injures two on Beach

July 22, 2014
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Lightning strikes during a rain storm on Fort Myers Beach proved deadly on Tuesday afternoon, as three people were reportedly struck, one fatally.

Town of Fort Myers Beach Vice Mayor Dan Andre heard about the unfortunate incident, which took place on the beachfront at the 1600 block of Estero Boulevard, from an unnamed businessperson whose store is located in the area. Andre called Town Manager Don Stilwell to inform the rest of the Beach Council.

"My understanding is (the deceased) suffered cardiac arrest and two were hospitalized. One (of the hospitalized) was a female that was either an older teenager or in her 20s who was pretty coherent when they carried her off in a stretcher. The other gentlemen was unconscious when they took him off on a stretcher," Andre said.

The storm came swift at roughly 2:30 p.m. and was gone one hour later. Andre heard a report that there were 47 lightning strikes in the area during a 15-minute timeframe.

The Town Public Safety Committee has been looking into the viability and cost of a lightning warning system to be placed on the Beach.

"The committee has received a couple of bids on lightning detection systems so far," said Andre.

Andre does not remember a lightning fatality since being on the beach, but said Public Safety Committee member Al Durrett told him something similar happened roughly 15 years ago.

"This is very tragic," Andre said. "Our thoughts and prayers go our to the family."



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