Second Student Rower Killed After Being Struck by Lightning

by Sean Griffin
(Photo by Daniel Bockwoldt/picture alliance via Getty Images)

A student rower died after being injured in an apparent lightning strike. The incident occurred on Lake Fairview in Orlando, Florida. The lightning strike, which occurred on September 15th, marks the second fatality stemming from the strike.

“It is with broken hearts that we share the passing of a second rower involved in last Thursday’s weather-related tragedy,” North Orlando Rowing wrote on Facebook Saturday. “The NOR community is devastated and continues to focus on supporting our affected families and our entire NOR team during this difficult time. We continue to cooperate with local authorities and USRowing as they investigate the incident.”

The organization said it wouldn’t provide further comment until the investigation is completed.

Members of the rowing group, which is nonprofit, were practicing at Lake Fairview in Orlando when the incident occurred last week, according to ABC News.

The next day, the search teams of local authorities, including a dive team, discovered the body of another student who went missing after the strike.

“Preliminary reports indicate lightning struck the area,” the fire department told ABC News in a statement earlier this month.

“We are incredibly saddened by this incident,” the fire department said at the time. “[We] appreciate the efforts of the multiple agencies who worked together over the past 24 hours to assist in the rescue,” the fire department said at the time.

Five people were on board a vessel at the time, reportedly. All involved are thought to be students at various Central Florida schools, according to Orlando’s fire department.

Local authorities and the United States Rowing Association are currently investigating the incident, according to North Orlando Rowing.

“We are beyond grateful for the outpouring of love and concern from around the world,” North Orlando Rowing said Saturday. “Please continue to hold our families in your prayers.”

The National Weather Service has many safety tips for citizens surrounding lightning. The NWS says that “NO PLACE outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area!” They say that if you “hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you.”

NWS also advises to seek shelter. “When you hear thunder, immediately move to safe shelter,” they write. They describe safe shelter as “a substantial building with electricity or plumbing or an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with windows up.”

Lastly, they say that you should “stay in safe shelter at least 30 minutes after you hear the last thunder.