Man killed by lightning in So. Calif.; at least 7 injured

A boogie-boarder said he would not have been in the water at Venice Beach in the Los Angeles area if he expected lightning.
By Frances Burns   |   July 28, 2014 at 11:27 AM
| License Photo

LOS ANGELES, July 28 (UPI) -- Beachgoers said the unusual lightning storm that killed a man in Los Angeles hit suddenly and without warning.

At least seven people were injured by lightning strikes, including a 57-year-old man playing golf on Catalina Island, about 20 miles offshore. The lightning also started two brush fires.

Ninety minutes later, lightning hit packed beaches in Los Angeles. Witnesses described at least four lightning strikes in the Venice Beach area.

A man who gave his name only as Paul told the Los Angeles Times he was briefly unconscious.

"I was in the water, I was boogie-boarding, and then next thing I know, I was trying to get my head above the water for air," he said. "It was a very bizarre incident. I mean, I wouldn't have been in the water if I thought lightning was going to strike, so yeah, it was pretty scary."

A 20-year-old man who was in the water when he was hit died.

Bill Patzert, a climatologist with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, said the storm, unusual for the area, was caused by a high-pressure system that pulled in moisture-laden air from the Gulf of Mexico.

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