VILANO BEACH, Fla. - A man is in critical condition after an apparent lightning strike Monday afternoon at Vilano Beach.
Falk Weltzein and his 14-year-old son, Kai Weltzien, were getting ready to go kiteboarding when the lightning struck, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.
According to the deputy's report from the incident, Falk Weltzien had a harness around his waist that contained metal rings. The harness was attached to a string, which was attached to a large kite.
Kai told Channel 4 that he saw a large blinding flash and felt a small tingle in his arms. He then saw his father lying on the sand. He said he started screaming his father's name and people ran over to give his dad CPR.
"It was two of them," said St. Johns County Fire-Rescue spokesman Jeremy Robshaw. "They were on the beach, they were being attended to by several bystanders when we arrived on scene, began treatment of the patient. As best we could tell, the individual did sustain a lightning strike, the other was in the general area, didn't really have many signs or symptoms but was basically transported as a precautionary patient."
Robshaw said it's not very often that rescuers have to deal with people who are actually struck by lightning.
"We are in Florida. It is very common to see lightning strikes, a lot of lightning in our area, so it's something we're certainly prepared for," Robshaw said. "We've definitely dealt with it, but it is uncommon for us to actually deal with what we think is a confirmed strike."
With Monday afternoon's incident, safety officials are reminding people about storm safety.
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"The conditions can change rapidly, so certainly be aware of your surroundings, know if a storm is approaching or bad weather, you know, certainly take shelter," Robshaw said.
Falk Weltzein was transported to Flagler Hospital in critical condition Monday afternoon. According to his wife, Tonya Weltzein, his condition was improving.
The couple's son was released from the hospital Monday night.
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