VENICE BEACH, California – A sunny day at California’s famed Venice Beach took a dark turn Sunday when one person died and a dozen others were injured after a rare lightning strike.
A man in his mid-20’s died at at the hospital after being transported from Venice Beach, said John Kades of the Los Angeles Coroner’s office.
It’s too early to determine whether he died as a result of “a lightning strike, drowning, or being trampled by the crowd,” according to Kades.
The lightning hit the water and the beach at 2:51 p.m. (5:51 p.m. ET), according to spokeswoman Katherine Main of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
At least 13 patients — all of whom were either in or near the water — were assessed on the scene. Of those, seven adults and one teenager were transported to local hospitals.
One patient had to be pulled from the water, but it was not immediately clear if it was the man who later died.
Another patient transported to the hospital was listed in serious condition Sunday afternoon, while the remaining six were listed as fair.
The National Weather Service in Los Angeles tweeted at around the time of the strike that “cloud to ground lightning” had been reported in nearby Marina Del Rey and at the Los Angeles International Airport. “Stay indoors if you hear thunder until it passes,” the Weather Service tweeted.
Witnesses tweeted they saw a huge bolt of lightning strike the area, with one Twitter user describing an explosion that blew off nearby roof tiles.
Venice Beach, located south of Santa Monica in Los Angeles, is world famous for the carnival-like atmosphere along its boardwalk.
In another incident in Southern California, a man was hit by lightning near a golf course in Catalina Island, according to Los Angeles Sheriff Sgt. Robert Berardi.
The man was taken to a local hospital, treated and later released.