PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Madeira Beach Fire Department crews responded to Indian Shores Thursday after a lightning strike injured a man.
It happened around 4:45 p.m. at 18500 Gulf Blvd.
It was an indirect strike. The man was conscious when crews arrived. The victim had been taking shelter underneath the Sand Dollar Pier when the strike hit. People who found him said he seemed dazed but otherwise alright.
At the end of the Sand Dollar Pier, a light fixture is hanging by a wire, blown from its pole by the lightning strike. “Huge two bolts come down right in this area. And uh, just scared the daylights,” Charles Bell said.
While most people scurried for shelter, several people noticed a man still out in the deluge. “We were wondering why people were still on the beach. We saw this guy running down the beach. Soon as he hit the pier, we didn’t see him anymore,” Paul Leiles said.
The crack of thunder came at the same time as a bright, white flash, with trailing tentacles tracing the wooden pier.
“We saw the lightning hit the light bulb up there. It just was real loud. And then we just saw it go across the pier. And we were just like, ‘Oh my God! Did it hit the guy?” Jackson Coleman recalled.
A beach attendant ran to help. “We ran out. We checked to make sure he was okay. He seemed a little dazed and confused, and we ended up grabbing him out then bringing him in here and we called the authorities,” Steven Barber said.
“We grabbed an arm and a leg and we brought him right over here near these little picnic tables. We were like, ‘Hey, man. Are you okay? Are you feeling? What’s your name?’ Things like that.”
The victim, a man in his 50s or 60s, seemed to be OK, with no signs of burns or marks, witnesses said. A fire rescue crew took him to the hospital as a precaution.