Motorcyclist hit by lightning in Florida crashes, dies

Witnesses: Bolt struck biker's helmet near Ormond Beach

DELAND, Fla. - Authorities in Florida say lightning struck a motorcyclist on a Florida interstate, causing a crash and his death.

The Florida Highway Patrol tells news outlets the lightning strike hit the driver Sunday afternoon as he rode southbound on Interstate 95, cracking the 45-year-old's now-burning helmet and sending him off the roadway.

On Monday night, News4Jax obtained a 911 call made moments after the motorcyclist was struck. 

LISTEN: Call made to dispatch after motorcyclist struck by lightning

The man died at the scene in east-central Florida. Florida troopers say an off-duty Virginia state trooper witnessed the lightning strike and its aftermath.

FHP Orlando shared a photo of the motorcyclist's helmet after the incident.

WOGX-TV says authorities confirmed the motorcyclist is a 45-year-old from Charlotte, North Carolina. His identity wasn't immediately released.

The accident is a tragic reminder of how dangerous being outside during a thunderstorm can be.

According to the National Weather Service, lightning kills an average of 47 people in the United States every year and injures hundreds of others.

Experts advise if you hear thunder, immediately go to a safe, indoor location and stay there for at least 30 minutes after the storm to make sure it's safe.

Overall, Florida tops the nation in lightning strike deaths. 

20 people were killed by lightning strikes last year, according to the National Weather Service. Just over a third of those deaths were in Florida.

Copyright 2019 by WJXT News4Jax. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.