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TAMPA, Fla. (Tribune News Service) — A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter lifted seven boaters to safety after their 39-foot vessel was struck by lightning 100 miles off the Clearwater coast Saturday.

The five women and two men were participating in a fishing tournament when their boat encountered a lightning storm, according to a Coast Guard news release. None sustained serious injuries.

"Lightning storms are routinely encountered in the Florida maritime environment and can pose a significant hazard to boaters," Coast Guard pilot Lt. David McKinley said in a statement.

Fortunately, McKinley said, the boaters were equipped with an emergency beacon, flares and a maritime radio to ensure a quick rescue.

The boaters were transported safely back to a Coast Guard air station in Clearwater where they were greeted by waiting family members.

©2022 Tampa Bay Times.

Visit at tampabay.com.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew rescued seven people after their 39-foot personal vessel was struck by lightning 100 offshore of Clearwater Florida, June 25, 2022. The five women and two men were returned without medical concerns to the air station where family greeted them.

A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew rescued seven people after their 39-foot personal vessel was struck by lightning 100 offshore of Clearwater Florida, June 25, 2022. The five women and two men were returned without medical concerns to the air station where family greeted them. (U.S. Coast Guard)


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