A video on social media shows two people being struck by lightning on a beach in Mexico.
Beachgoers in Michoacán, in the west of Mexico, were packing up to leave as bad weather rolled in when lightning struck the beach, just a stone’s throw from the water’s edge. The incident, widely shared on social media and posted by Milenio Television news anchor Azucena Uresti on X, formerly Twitter, took place on a beach in Aquila.
Four people can be seen in the clip when a thunderclap sounds. A second later, a large bolt of lightning strikes one person as they walk away from the water, with the electric current then traveling across the sand to a second person. The two victims are seen collapsing just before the person taking the video runs and flees the scene. Others are seen running on the beach as they attempt to leave.
According to Spanish daily Marca, one of the victims was a woman, who was killed instantly, and the other was a male who was taken to the hospital but did not survive. Newsweek has been unable to verify the names of the people killed. One of the victims was a tourist and the other sold hammocks, Marca has reported. According to The Sun, while the footage started circulating on social media on Monday, the incident appears to have occurred on Friday, September 15.
WARNING – THE FOLLOWING VIDEO CONTAINS DISTRESSING FOOTAGE.
Mayor of Aquila, José María Valencia, confirmed the hammock seller was originally from Tecomán, municipality of Colima, and the woman was from the state of Guanajuato, according to a report from Mexican news outlet Milenio.
Newsweek has contacted the City Hall of Aquila, Michoacán, for comment via the contact form on its website.
The chances of being struck by lightning are low. According to the National Weather Service, there is an average of 43 reported lightning-related fatalities in the U.S. per year, while there are 243 estimated injuries. The likelihood of experiencing a lightning strike in one’s lifetime, based on an average of living to 80 years old, is approximately one in 15,300.
While 10 percent of those who are struck by lightning lose their lives, nearly 90 percent experience some level of disability as a result, according to data collected between 1989 and 2018. In the U.S, Florida and Texas have reported more than 30 lightning deaths between 2006 and 2021, according to the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC warns that if a storm comes while you are in water, you should immediately return to land and get at least more than 300 feet away from the shore. It advises remembering the phrase: “When thunder roars, go indoors.” If you hear thunder while you are at the beach, the CDC says you should “find a safe, enclosed shelter, such as your car” and avoid cover under beach picnic shelters.
The center also advises making sure to check the weather prior to a beach or boating trip, especially as localised storms can sometimes be missed by weather reports.
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