RIVERVIEW — An 11-year-old boy was hospitalized after he was struck by lightning while boating with his family, according to the family’s pastor, Daniel Butson.
Levi Stock was in critical condition when he was taken to Tampa General Hospital around 4:15 p.m. Thursday, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue spokesperson Rob Herrin said. Levi is in stable condition and recovering, Butson said Friday. However, doctors told the family the subsequent 24 to 48 hours would be critical in Levi’s recovery.
Butson is the lead pastor at FishHawk Fellowship Church in Lithia, where, he said, the family — parents Derek and Kristen Stock and their four children — have been members since 2010.
According to Butson, the Stock family was boating near Pine Key in Tampa Bay, a popular 9-acre island west of Apollo Beach still known to many as Beer Can Island, Thursday afternoon.
When the family was preparing to dock at Williams Park, storm clouds began to gather rapidly. The boat was about 100 feet from the dock when a bolt of lightning struck Levi — knocking the boy off the boat and into the bay, Butson said. His father, Derek Stock, jumped into the water after him.
The Stock family’s boat was damaged by the lightning strike, making it difficult to get the boat to the dock and to get the pair out of the water, Butson said.
Good Samaritans in a nearby boat pulled out the father and son from the water, and Derek Stock began performing CPR on Levi. Derek Stock told Butson he performed CPR for what felt like an eternity.
“He was living out his worst nightmare as a parent,” Butson said.
When first responders arrived, Levi had a faint pulse, according to the pastor.
He said the Stock family is thankful for the prayers they have received while they are in the hospital with their son.
“This is just one of those families that is really special to our whole community,” Butson said.
Florida led the nation in lightning deaths in 2021. Experts said the state’s large population, its proximity to the tropics, seasonal thunderstorms and outdoor activities contribute to the number of people struck by lightning. They advise people to head indoors when thunder can be heard to avoid lightning strikes.