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Lightning Strikes 14 People In Los Angeles, 1 Dead

UPDATE: At Los Angeles' Venice Beach, 13 people were struck by lightning Sunday afternoon and one of them has died, authorities said. On Catalina Island, a 57-year-old man was also hit by lightning.

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UPDATE — July 27, 10:15 p.m. ET: A lightning storm occurred Sunday afternoon at Venice Beach, Calif., killing a 20-year-old man and injuring 12 others, including a 15-year-old, Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Katherine Main said.


Steve Christensen told the Associated Press that lifeguards and others went into the ocean to look for a missing swimmer.

Jonathan Alcorn / Reuters

"He (Christensen's friend) went out to the water to find him and walked right into him," Christensen said. "He was face down on the bottom."

Eight other people were taken to the same hospital to be treated.

Stuart Acher, who had been at the beach at the time of the storm, said he was struck by lightning while playing volleyball.

Jonathan Alcorn / Reuters

"We went about our game and then all of a sudden, there was a big flash of light and a boom, and it felt like someone punched me in the back of my head," he told KABC-TV. "It went down my whole side of my right body, and my calves sort of locked up, and I fell over. And I looked up and everybody else was, you know, falling over."

The caption for this Instagram photo reads:

"Today was one of those days the universe stepped in. It was raining for the first time in months in Southern California and we wanted to go swim in the ocean. We got tripped up a little on the way but we're still jazzed to go swim. As soon as we got to the ocean we were alerted that lightning came outta nowhere and hit several people in the water and some died. Lifeguard boats are out now looking for more bodies. One of those things where you dodged a bullet just a second ahead of time. Thoughts going out to those who weren't so lucky."

Authorities said one person, a 57-year-old male, was struck by lightning on a golf course Catalina Island. He is reportedly in stable condition.

The thunderstorms on the Island also caused minor flooding and two small fires that were extinguished, said Steve Denning, who works for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.

Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at

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