Lightning strikes Venice Beach crowd

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iol pic wld LOA015_USA-LIGHTNING_0728_11 Reuters A man is treated by paramedics while a woman is comforted after a lightning strike at Venice Beach, California. Picture: Jonathan Alcorn

Los Angeles -

Eight people, including a teenager, were taken to hospital on Sunday after a freak lightning strike at bustling Venice Beach, the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

LAFD spokeswoman Katherine Main told AFP that one of the individuals was in grave condition following the afternoon incident, while another was considered critical. The status of the remaining six was listed as fair.

Seven of those taken to hospital were adults, while the eighth was a 15-year-old, Main added.

She could not comment on their current conditions.

The LAFD assessed an additional five people on site at the beach who did not need hospital care, according to the spokeswoman.

The rare incident occurred while there were isolated thunderstorms in the area.

Witnesses speaking to the Los Angeles Times described scenes of panic as the sky darkened and lightning erupted shortly thereafter, accompanied by thunder and rain.

“You could hear everybody screaming,” Angelica Roquemore told the newspaper.

Roger Davis was quoted by the publication as saying that his house shook and that he heard explosions. When he ran outside, his neighbour - a doctor - was administering CPR to a victim, he told the paper. - Sapa-AFP

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