Beloved Florida woman, 23, killed by lightning strike

Authorities say the victim and others were under a camper when it happened

By Chris Parenteau - Reporter

WHITE SPRINGS, Fla. - What was supposed to be a day spent mud bogging ended instead in tragedy Saturday afternoon when a Florida woman was killed by a lightning strike as thunderstorms rolled through Hamilton County.

Kourtney Lambert of Branford and others were huddled under a camper trailer at Woodpecker Mud Bog in White Springs shortly before 3 p.m. when the lightning struck, according to an incident report.

The lightning bolt at first hit a tree and then apparently traveled roughly 20 feet to the camper where Lambert, 23, and others had sought shelter from the storms, the report stated.

RELATED: Lightning strike kills Suwannee County woman

Family members were performing CPR on the woman when a deputy, flagged down by a witness, called for an ambulance. She was taken to the hospital, but did not survive.

"We did CPR. We tried to bring her back. She was gone," one witness said.

A second person was hospitalized in the incident. That person's name and condition were not released.

Lambert, who worked at Dixie County Learning Academy, was described by a coworker as a "valuable member" of the team there.

In a Facebook post, school administrators said staff were heartbroken after learning of Lambert's death.

“She will forever be remember in the hearts of the students lives she touched while working at DCLA. All our thoughts, love and prayers go out to her husband Max, the Dunnam family, the Lambert family and all the many people who loved Kourtney," the post went on to say.

A relative posted on Facebook that Lambert will be laid to rest in a graveside service at noon Thursday at Cross City Cemetery.

                                         Lightning safety tips

According to the National Weather Service, there are several things you should keep in mind when thunder roars and lightning strikes:

1. Appoint someone to watch the skies when you're outdoors. Check the latest thunderstorm forecast on News4Jax.com, your Weather Authority weather app and monitor the NOAA Weather Radio.

2. When thunder roars, go indoors and stay there for 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder.

3. When lightning is in your vicinity, seek shelter inside a completely closed building. If no closed building is convenient, get inside a hard-topped all-metal vehicle.

4. Do not take shelter under a tree, especially if it is tall and isolated.

5. Get out of the water. This includes beaches, pools, lakes, rivers, oceans, water rides, and even puddled water.

6. Put down metal objects such as fishing poles, golf clubs, tennis rackets, tools. etc. 

7. Dismount from tractors and heavy construction equipment. Do not seek shelter under the equipment. 
Move away from metal objects such as metal fences, metal sheds, telephone and power lines.

You should also keep in mind that there are a number of misconceptions when it comes to lightning safety, so here are some myths that have been debunked with reliable facts.

Copyright 2018 by WJXT News4Jax. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.