CLEARWATER, Fla. – Seven people were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard on Saturday after their 39-foot vessel was disabled by a lightning strike 100 miles offshore of Clearwater, according to a news release.
Video of the strike itself was shared on Twitter, edited to include footage of the rescue as viewed from the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter onto which a USCG aircrew hoisted the five women and two men without injuries.
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Lt. David McKinley, a USCG pilot, said the boaters were fortunately well prepared, with such rescue-ready tools on hand as an emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) that alerted USCG District 7 to their whereabouts.
“Lightning storms are routinely encountered in the Florida maritime environment and can pose a significant hazard to boaters,” McKinley said in a statement. “Fortunately, the boaters in this case were well prepared with all necessary safety equipment including an EPIRB, flares, and a marine VHF radio to ensure a quick and efficient rescue.”
At last check, the owner of the vessel was coordinating with commercial salvage to recover the electrified boat, officials said. The man’s wife said he and the others onboard were part of a fishing tournament, the release described.
#BREAKING USCG Air Station Clearwater rescued 7 people after their boat was hit by lighting 100 mil offshore of #TampaBay. Everyone is ok & reunited w/ family & friends thanks to them activating their EPIRB. Read more @ https://t.co/sINUsheQ9t #EPIRB #lightningstrikes #USCG pic.twitter.com/08SCd6WKoq— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) June 26, 2022