DAYTONA BEACH SHORES, Fla. – A woman died late Friday after she was struck by lightning while in ankle-deep water at a beach in Daytona Beach Shores, Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue said.
Janika Gardner, 33, of Georgia, died at a hospital shortly before midnight, Senior Capt. Tamra Marris said.
Russell Scott, who was visiting from Georgia with Gardner, was also struck by the lightning bolt.
“He is in the hospital but doing well,” Marris said.
Anna Nikorak, 55, of Daytona Beach, was also struck by the bolt.
“Fortunately, she was able to walk away and seek medical attention elsewhere,” Marris said. “She is OK.”
Julie Lucas, who witnessed the incident, captured cellphone footage of paramedics rushing to the beach behind the Hyatt Place hotel along South Atlantic Avenue.
“It just was a big lightning bolt. It was just one lightning bolt,” Lucas said. “It went ‘kaboom.’ I said to him, ‘I bet someone just got hit.’”
A large grey cloud was seen over the beach at about 5 p.m., but there was no rain or wind.
“Even the lifeguard would never have had any warning,” Lucas said. “It was a random lightning bolt.”
When paramedics arrived, Scott was conscious but Gardner wasn’t.
The woman passed away just before midnight Friday, according to Beach Patrol.
Officials said the strike came from a distance during what was a stormy and busy day for lifeguards.
“We’ve been clearing [the beach] on and off all day long,” Marris said.
An off-duty paramedic said he rushed over to perform CPR on Gardner and Scott.