1 Dead, 7-Plus Injured in Venice Beach Lightning Strikes

Updated at the bottom with a statement from L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti.

A man in his 20s died after he was struck by lightning on the beach in Venice today, an L.A. County Department of Coroner's official said.

The exact cause of death had yet to be determined, coroner's Capt. John Kades told us. The man was one of eight people hospitalized following the strikes in the 3800 block of Ocean Front Walk about 2:21 p.m., according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

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An additional five people along the beach were checked out by paramedics ...

... but didn't require hospitalization, LAFD spokeswoman Katherine Main told us.

The man in his 20s had been taken to Marina Del Rey Hospital, where he died, Kades said. Workers there said they weren't able to give out any information.

Another patient struck by lightning was said to be at a hospital in critical condition, according to the LAFD. Six others who were taken to hospitals were reported to be in "fair" shape, the department stated.

One of those victims was a 15-year-old, the LAFD says.

The summer storm unleashed rain and lightning on a warmer-than-normal day that brought thousands to local beaches.

One witness told KNX 1070 Newsradio's Claudia Peschiutta that when the lightning struck, "I thought it was like a bomb almost. People screaming. It was extremely scary."

[Added at 10:45 p.m.]: Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Brian Jordan told reporters at the scene that most of the victims were in or near the water.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, meanwhile, issued this statement:

[Spouse] Amy's and my prayers are with the victims of the lightning strike today at Venice Beach. This tragedy reminds us that we can take nothing for granted or underestimate the power of nature.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.


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