Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning strikes injure man, create brush fire in Sand Key Park

CLEARWATER — A 44-year-old Tampa man was injured Thursday after lightning struck the ground at Sand Key Park, officials said.

Samuel Sepulveda was on the sand about 25 yards south of the lifeguard tower just before noon when the strike hit near him. He was taken to Largo Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

It hadn't been raining or actively storming when a bolt first struck at the unoccupied north end of the beach, sparking a small brush fire. Clearwater firefighters, based at the station right outside the park, put it out within minutes. Within seconds, another struck nearer beachgoers.

"The first one, I heard it. The second one, I felt it," said Clermont resident Bill Osowski, 65. "I felt it in my feet. In fact, my feet were numb for a while ... Then I heard the screaming."

Osowski, a retired police officer from Delaware, said he looked over and Sepulveda was face-down on the sand "flailing in the air and shaking." He said he ran over to Sepulveda, who was blue in the face, helped him sit up and wiped the sand from his mouth.

Just as other Pinellas County lifeguards were beginning to temporarily close the beach, lifeguard Jorge Perdomo said he heard Osowski and other people calling for help. Perdomo came by in his car and took Sepulveda to an area away from the beach. There Perdomo gave Sepulveda oxygen until the ambulance arrived.

"People just need to listen to the lifeguards," said Perdomo, who has 10 years as a lifeguard. "Any time it storms, they need to get off the beach, immediately. Lightning is not predictable."

Lightning strikes injure man, create brush fire in Sand Key Park 07/24/14 [Last modified: Thursday, July 24, 2014 7:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals


    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
  2. No lack of issues facing St. Petersburg's six council candidates


    ST. PETERSBURG — The six candidates for City Council gathered Monday evening in the very chamber to which they aspire to serve.

    St. Petersburg City Council candidates (from left)  Brandi Gabbard and Barclay Harless in District 2; Jerick Johnston and incumbent council member Darden Rice in District 4; and Justin Bean and Gina Driscoll of District 6. All six candidates appeared at Monday night's forum at City Hall sponsored by the League of Women Voters. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]

  3. Iraq's Kurds vote on independence, raising regional fears


    IRBIL, Iraq — Iraqi Kurds voted Monday in a landmark referendum on supporting independence, a move billed by the Kurdish leadership as an exercise in self-determination but viewed as a hostile act by Iraq's central government. Neighboring Turkey even threatened a military response.

    People celebrate Monday after voting closed in a referendum on independence in Irbil, Iraq.
  4. North Korean diplomat says Trump has 'declared war'


    UNITED NATIONS — North Korea's top diplomat said Monday that President Donald Trump's weekend tweet was a "declaration of war" and North Korea has the right to retaliate by shooting down U.S. bombers, even in international airspace.

    North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, center, speaks outside the U.N. Plaza Hotel in New York on Monday.
  5. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]