The U.S. Coast Guard rescued seven people Saturday after their 39-foot boat was struck by lightning 100 miles off Clearwater.
A video shared by the agency shows a man and a woman having fun on a moving boat when it was suddenly struck by lightning — causing a woman to yell and take cover.
Then it shows a Coast Guard crew hoisting people to an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter after the boat became disabled.
The aircrew rescued five women and two men without medical concerns, and returned them to the air station. There, family members greeted them, the agency said Sunday in a news release.
The Coast Guard said its command center had received an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) alert and was able to contact the owner’s wife who said the group was participating in a fishing tournament.
“Lightning storms are routinely encountered in the Florida maritime environment and can pose a significant hazard to boaters,” Lt. David McKinley, Coast Guard pilot, said in the release. “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 vessel’s owner is coordinating with commercial salvage to recover the disabled boat, the agency added.