Florida officials recently recovered the body of a student who went missing after lightning struck near a middle school. At the time, the student was at rowing practice at an Orlando lake.
According to Fire Department Executive Deputy Chief Ian Davis, the possible lighting strike occurred on Thursday evening when five middle school students were practicing near the North Orlando Rowing Complex in Lake Fairview, Orlando.
However, officials were uncertain whether the lightning struck the rowing vessel or near the vessel.
The boat also capsized, leaving one student hospitalized and another missing after the students went into the water. Davis added that the three other students were treated for injuries and were later released to their parents.
However, the body of the missing student was recovered on Friday around 5:15 p.m. after authorities launched a search immediately after the student vanished.
“We are incredibly saddened by this incident and appreciate the efforts of the multiple agencies who worked together over the past 24 hours to assist in the rescue,” Orlando Fire Department spokesperson Jennifer DeSantis said in a statement. However, the student’s identity was not released on Friday.
According to weather radar near the lake, at least four lightning strikes were reported between 5:46 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Thursday.
The Orlando Rowing Club, whose mission is to promote the sport of rowing in central Florida, posted a message on its Facebook page late Thursday evening saying, “Holding vigil in the rowing community tonight.”
For those living in Florida, thunder and lightning storms are typically a daily occurrence. However, knowing what to do is crucial if you find yourself on the water during a lightning storm.
Rowing and lightning storms don’t mix
According to Row Safe USA, they make it clear that you should never row during a storm. “Do not row in an electrical storm,” they write. “Lightning detectors are inexpensive and can clip on your belt. If you are on the water and see lightning, hear thunder, or notice your hair standing on end with static electricity, head for the nearest shore.”
They also add that if a storm is near, “take your boat ashore and wait for the storm to pass.” Although deaths from lightning are rare, always get off the water if you think lightning is close.
In addition, the chances of dying from a lightning storm in any given year are approximately 1 in 2,000,000. Despite this, always take appropriate measures and precautions when on the water. However, in a state like Florida, there are at least 70 to 80 thunderstorm days per year. Moreso, some parts have more than 100 thunderstorm days per year. In addition, there’s always increased activity during the summer months. With this, it’s best to do everything you can not to become a statistic.