Lightning strike at Jersey Shore kills lifeguard, injures 7

Lightning strike at Jersey Shore kills lifeguard, injures 7

August 31, 2021

BERKELEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. — A young lifeguard was killed and seven other people, including three other lifeguards, were injured when lightning struck a Jersey Shore beach Monday afternoon, authorities said.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy confirmed that a lifeguard in Berkeley Township was killed in the afternoon.

It marked the second death of a young lifeguard at the Jersey Shore in a little over a week.

Ocean County Sheriff Michael Mastronardy said seven others were taken to hospitals with injuries that were not considered life-threatening.

“Our hearts are with the family and friends of the young lifeguard killed by today’s horrific lightning strike on the beach in Berkeley Township, and we pray for a full recovery for those injured,” Murphy, the state’s Democratic governor, wrote on Twitter. “I’ve spoken to Mayor Carmen Amato and offered the full support and assistance of our administration during this difficult time.”

Amato said his township’s beaches will be closed Tuesday through Thursday as crisis counselors are made available to beach staff and lifeguards.

The mayor said eight people in total were struck by lightning, including the lifeguard who died. Four of those struck were lifeguards and four others were beachgoers.

“This is a tragic and heartbreaking day for our town and the entire Jersey Shore,” Amato said in a statement. “This young person was out there every day protecting the lives of others. Our lifeguard teams, like so many along the shore, develop special connections with our community throughout the summer, which makes this loss even greater.

“On behalf of myself and our entire community, I offer our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of this young man,” he said.

The identities of the lifeguard who died, as well as the others hurt by the lightning strike were not immediately released.

Police were called at 4:31 p.m. ET to a beach on 21st Avenue in Berkeley Township, near the entrance to Island Beach State Park.

Police said in a Facebook post that they were investigating reports of lightning strikes in the township, and would release further information as it becomes available.

A police dispatcher said she could not release any information other than what the department had posted on Facebook. Messages left for police commanders were not immediately returned.

On Aug. 20, 16-year-old lifeguard Norman Inferrera III died a day after an accident in Cape May. A lifeboat he was rowing was struck by a wave and flipped over, knocking him unconscious, authorities said.

And on Aug. 12, a 13-year-old boy died after he was struck by lightning at Orchard Beach in the Bronx in New York City.

Carlos Ramos was one of a group a people gathered at the beach who were struck by lightning during a fast-moving storm. Six others also were injured in that lightning strike.

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Follow Wayne Parry at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

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