The strike in question happened at approximately 12:42 p.m. local time Sunday near the Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill restaurant on the beach, per a regional WTSP report on the incident. One man is now in "critical condition," having experienced cardiac arrest and "life-threatening injuries" after being struck. Prior to the strike, lifeguards and others had started evacuating the beach due to an impending storm.
The man, as well as four other people who were injured, were transported to the nearby Morton Plant Hospital. Another reported victim was transported to Tampa General Hospital, where they received treatment for burns, while three others said to have been injured in the strike refused medical treatment. The man said to be severely injured is further described as being in his 40s.
Lightning in the region has been the source of many headlines in recent months, with word arriving in June that the state had just experienced its first fatal strike of the year. In that incident, a motorcycle driver was hit while driving on the interstate.
All told, lightning was responsible for the deaths of an estimated 20 people nationwide in 2018, with seven of those deaths occurring in Florida.