jesse-watlington-dies lightning strike florida 2012

Jesse Watlington, 11, Dies After Being Struck By Lightning In Florida

Officials say an 11-year-old boy from Florida died Sunday after he was struck by a bolt of lightning on his way to football practice earlier in the week.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Jesse Watlington of Ft. Myers was walking with his middle school classmates to football practice on Wednesday around 4 pm when he was struck by lightning.

“Little did I know at that exact moment my 11-year-old son was struck dead in the chest with a lightning bolt,” his father, Charles, told Fox news. “It entered here and exited out of his heel on his foot.”

Following the strike, Jesse was rushed to a local hospital where paramedics revived him with CPR and then airlifted him to Tampa General Hospital in critical condition.

Watlington remained in a coma most of the weekend, but Sunday afternoon his family took him off life support.

After his son’s death, Mr. Watlington took to Facebook to thank the Ft. Myers community for its support and prayers

“Our precious little son Jesse is now with our Lord and Saviour Jesus. We would like to thank the thousands of you for all your love, support and prayers! Jesse has touched the lives of literally thousands of people around the World. Thank you all !”

In Jesse’s honor, Southwest Florida Christian Academy, the school Watlington attended, canceled extracurricular activities at the school through the weekend.

Watlington’s tragic death comes just days after another Florida resident was hit by lightning while kitesurfing at the beach. In that incident, Falk Weltzien, 39, survived the lightning strike.