Coast Guard Rescues 7 After Boat Struck by Lightning off Florida Coast

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Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter.
A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew rescued seven people after their 39-foot personal vessel was struck by lightning 100 miles off the coast of Clearwater on Saturday, June 25, 2022. (Petty Officer 1st Class Ayla Hudson/U.S. Coast Guard/TNS)

TAMPA, Fla. — A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter lifted seven boaters to safety after their 39-foot vessel was struck by lightning 100 miles off the Clearwater coast Saturday.

The five women and two men were participating in a fishing tournament when their boat encountered a lightning storm, according to a Coast Guard news release. None sustained serious injuries.

“Lightning storms are routinely encountered in the Florida maritime environment and can pose a significant hazard to boaters,” Coast Guard pilot Lt. David McKinley said in a statement.

Fortunately, McKinley said, the boaters were equipped with an emergency beacon, flares and a maritime radio to ensure a quick rescue.

The boaters were transported safely back to a Coast Guard air station in Clearwater where they were greeted by waiting family members.

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