Fishing No. 1 in U.S. lightning deaths

June 26, 2013 at 12:51 AM
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WASHINGTON, June 26 (UPI) -- Almost two-thirds of U.S. residents killed by lightning in the past seven years were enjoying outdoor recreation and leisure activities, a federal report said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in a report released Monday, said there were 238 deaths attributed to lightning strikes between 2006 and 2013, with 64 percent of the victims engaged in leisure activities.

Fishing appeared to be the most dangerous activity, with 26 deaths, followed by camping at 15, boating 14, soccer 12 and golf with eight.

John Jensenius, a lightning safety specialist with the National Weather Service, said a campaign to make golfers aware of the dangers of lightning that began more than 10 years ago has brought down the death toll. The safety campaign has also cut the number of deaths per year by almost 50 percent from an average of 73 to 37.

"When people think of lightning deaths, they usually think of golf," Jensenius said. "While every outdoor activity is dangerous when a thunderstorm is in the area, outdoor activities other than golf lead to more lightning deaths."

Men are far more likely to be killed by lightning than women with 82 percent of the deaths.

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