1 person dies after lightning strike on beach near Sarasota


SIESTA KEY, Fla. – One person died after they were struck by lightning Sunday afternoon while on a beach near Sarasota, authorities said.

The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office said the victim was struck just after 2 p.m. in the 6000 block of Midnight Pass Road in Siesta Key. The victim, who was not identified, was treated at the scene by paramedics and lifeguards.

Paramedics transported the victim to a local hospital, where the victim died.

Florida routinely leads the nation in lightning deaths, according to the National Weather Service.

Five of the 16 fatal lightning strikes in the U.S. in 2017 happened in Florida, which was down from 2016, when there were 10 fatalities in the state.

This year in South Florida, one man was killed earlier this month in Margate while doing yard work and a farm worker was killed in Parkland in May. Two other workers were hurt during the same storm.

"In terms of lightning, Florida has the most lightning per square mile of any state in the U.S. and also a sizable population," National Weather Service lightning safety specialist John Jensenius said in a news release earlier this year. "In addition, Florida has many outdoor recreational activities that cause people to be vulnerable to a lightning strike. Finally, in Florida, lightning is a very common afternoon threat for those who work outside or are outside as part of their daily routine."