Coast Guard rescues 7 after lightning strike 100 miles off Florida coast

The group was 120 miles off the coast and on their way to a fishing tournament in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Monday, June 27, 2022
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The owner had to use a beacon to call for help, and was able to get in touch with the United States Coast Guard.

CLEARWATER, Florida -- Seven people were rescued from a boat 100 miles off the coast of Tampa Bay, Florida on Saturday after a lightning strike.

The lightning strike hit the 39-foot boat and came very close to hitting the boat's owner and his sister.

The owner had to use a beacon to call for help, and was able to get in touch with the United States Coast Guard.

Officials said he had to set off a flare to help crews find them. The group was 120 miles off the coast and on their way to a fishing tournament in the Gulf of Mexico.

Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Ayla Hudson U.S. Coast Guard District 7

"Lightning storms are routinely encountered in the Florida maritime environment and can pose a significant hazard to boaters," Coast Guard Pilot Lt. David 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."

Everyone on the boat is expected to be OK.