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Tybee Island lightning strike kills a 15-year-old swimmer

By Kelly Murray and Claudia Dominguez, CNN

A 15-year-old girl died Saturday after she was struck by lightning while swimming off the coast of Georgia, according to the Tybee Island Police Department.

Police say they got a 911 call around 2:37 p.m. about a female who possibly had been struck.

Firefighters and lifeguards performed CPR on the girl. She was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

She had been visiting with her family from Alabama.

In a statement, police expressed condolences.

“The men and women of the City of Tybee Island are deeply saddened by the loss of this young woman and our hearts remain with her family and friends,” the statement read.

Risks of lightning strikes

The 15-year-old’s death is a reminder of the dangers of swimming during lightning storms.

Lightning takes the lives of an average of 49 people in the US each year, and hundreds more are injured, according to the National Weather Service.

“Lightning doesn’t strike the ocean as much as land, but when it does, it spreads out over the water, which acts as a conductor,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“If you’re at the beach and hear thunder or see lightning, get out of the water. Get off the beach and take shelter in a building or in your car.”

CNN Newsource

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