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7 Passengers Rescued by Coast Guard After Lightning Strikes Boat in Florida: 'Everybody Is Safe'

·2 min read
7 Passengers Rescued by Coast Guard After Lightning Strikes Boat in Florida: 'Everybody Is Safe'

Seven people were rescued by the Coast Guard after lightning struck their boat in Clearwater, Florida.

The group was participating in a fishing tournament Saturday when their "39-foot personal vessel" got caught in a storm and was struck by lightning, according to a press release from the Coast Guard.

Immediately in need of a rescue, the five women and two men aboard were then brought to safety without medical concerns, and were greeted by family members when they returned to an air station, the Coast Guard said.

"Lightning storms are routinely encountered in the Florida maritime environment and can pose a significant hazard to boaters," Lt. David McKinley, a Coast Guard pilot, said in a statement. "Fortunately, the boaters in this case were well prepared with all necessary safety equipment including an EPIRB, flares, and a marine VHF radio to ensure a quick and efficient rescue." 

The owner of the boat is now working with commercial salvage to recover the vessel, the Coast Guard noted.

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RELATED: Virginia Sailors Who Were Reported Missing Found Safe After Getting Struck by Lightning

At the time that the group got caught in the storm, one passenger began to film the weather occurrence, eventually catching the lightning strike on camera, as seen in video footage shared by the Coast Guard.

Two boat passengers, Glenn Rumer and his sister, Sherrie Kelley, spoke with the Today show after the scary situation, where they recalled exactly what went down.

A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew rescued seven people after their 39-foot personal vessel was struck by lightning 100 offshore of Clearwater Florida
A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew rescued seven people after their 39-foot personal vessel was struck by lightning 100 offshore of Clearwater Florida

Ayla Hudson/U.S. Coast Guard District 7

"Every second there was lightning," Kelley said, as Rumer echoed "I've had lightning around me in the past, but nothing like this. This was something that I've never experienced."

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Explaining that "there was only one way to go, and that was through the storm," Rumer said the part of the boat that was struck ended up on fire, leaving them without electricity and "completely dead in the water."

But, following their rescue, the pair said they and their other passengers are thankful they were able to be rescued by the Coast Guard.

"I love them all, they're all angels," Rumer told Today. "But we had God as backing and he blessed us. Everybody is safe at home, and nobody [is] hurt."