Man, 20, Killed In Freak Lightning Storm At Venice Beach, 8 Others Sent To Hospital

A freak thunderstorn in southern California at Venice Beach has left one man dead and at least eight others injured. The lightening storm caught beachgoers off guard as thunderstorms of this nature are an extremely rare weather event in southern California.

The LA Times notes, lightning strikes that killed one, critically injured another and hit several more people Sunday in coastal Southern California are extremely rare, with the West Coast experiencing the lowest incidence of them in the nation, a weather expert said. Scott Miller, an inspector with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, told National Geographic that lightning strikes are “rare and hard to predict.”

According to beachgoers and Venice Beach lifeguards, the storm hit without any warning at all. Times Union reports,”The first knowledge they had was when the lightning hit,” Capt. Danny Douglas of the Venice lifeguard station said Monday. Thousands were at the beach when the incident occured and many described the incident in detail, some noting that they too felt the shocks. Stuart Acher said he was shocked while playing volleyball on the beach.

“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. 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.”

Lifeguards told Archer he was okay and so he went back to playing volleyball. However, Nick Fagnano, 20-years-old, was not so lucky. Nick had just walked out into the waves off Venice Beach to rinse the sand off his body. Moments later, he was being pulled from the water as bolts of lightning sent thousands of people scattering for cover. Fagnano was later pronounced dead, but wasn’t the only one injured. In fact thirteen people who were in or near the water were also treated for injuries, including seven adults and a teenager who were taken to area hospitals.

Nick is being mourned by his friends and family after the freak accident took his life. His uncle, Dan Shanahan, told the LA Times,

“[Nick was] the kind of kid every parent would want their son to grow up to be. Everything was ready for him. He set it all up.”

Nick had graduated in 2012 from Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, where he played on the varsity baseball team. Fagnano then went to Santa Barbara City College, where he continued to play baseball, before deciding he wanted to go to USC to study commercial real estate development. His former baseball coach, Tom Dill, said he was “the sweetest young man” and knows that he will be missed.

The lightening storm incident that killed one and scared many in Venice Beach just goes to show, Mother Nature can strike anywhere without warning. Lifeguards were able to treat many on scene and only one remains in critical condition in the hospital following the incident.

In a related story, a child who was struck by lightening in the womb still has hair that stands on end a year later.

[Image Credit: NY Daily News]