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California lightning strikes 14 people

28 July 2014, 13:58

Los Angeles - Lightning struck 14 people, injuring two critically, during rare summer thunderstorms that swept through Southern California, authorities said on Sunday.

Los Angeles fire spokesperson Katherine Main said 13 people were treated after they were struck at Venice Beach in Los Angeles. Four were treated at the scene and released, and the rest were taken to hospitals.

Stuart Acher said he was struck while playing volleyball on the beach.

"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," he told KABC-TV. "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."

Other fire officials said most of those taken to hospitals were mainly shaken up and were expected to recover.

Steve Christensen said his friend tried to help when lifeguards began searching for a missing swimmer.

"He went out to the water to find him and walked right into him," Christensen said. "He was face down on the bottom."

Christensen said his friend pulled the man from the water, and lifeguards began trying to resuscitate him before taking him away on a truck.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said a 14th person was struck on a golf course on Southern California's Catalina Island. The 57-year-old man was reported in stable condition.

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- AP

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