CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) — Seven people had to be rescued from a boat 100 miles off of Clearwater after their vessel was hit by lightning Saturday.
The Coast Guard said they received an alert about the boat’s emergency and got in contact with the boat’s owner. She told them that her husband and other people were participating in a fishing tournament when the boat was struck by lightning.
A helicopter crew eventually located the occupants, five women and two men, and airlifted them back to Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater. The boaters’ family met them at the base.
“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 ((Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon), flares, and a marine VHF radio to ensure a quick and efficient rescue.”
The boat’s owner worked with a salvage business to recover the disabled vessel.