JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A scary video shows the moment lightning struck a passenger-filled boat Saturday off the west coast of Florida.
According to the Coast Guard, seven people were rescued from the 39-foot boat after it was hit by lightning while traveling in the Gulf of Mexico about 100 miles off the coast of Clearwater.
None of the passengers were injured, the Coast Guard said, but the boat was disabled.
#BREAKING USCG Air Station Clearwater rescued 7 people after their boat was hit by lighting 100 mil offshore of #TampaBay. Everyone is ok & reunited w/ family & friends thanks to them activating their EPIRB. Read more @ https://t.co/sINUsheQ9t #EPIRB #lightningstrikes #USCG pic.twitter.com/08SCd6WKoq— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) June 26, 2022
A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew hoisted the five female and two male passengers and returned them to the air station where family greeted them.
The Coast Guard said it got an EPIRB alert and was able to contact the owner’s wife who said her husband and others were part of a fishing tournament.
“Lightning storms are routinely encountered in the Florida maritime environment and can pose a significant hazard to boaters,” said Lt. David McKinley, Coast Guard pilot. “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.”
The vessel owner is working with commercial salvage to recover the disabled vessel.