Coast Guard rescue: 7 saved after video shows lighting striking boat off Florida coast

CLEARWATER, Fla. — A group of people out boating had to be rescued by the Coast Guard after their boat was hit by a bolt of lightning.

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Video shared by the Coast Guard shows the moment the lightning struck, with people smiling just seconds beforehand.

The boat was 100 miles off Clearwater Beach when the lightning hit, WFTV reported.

“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 a statement. “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.”

In a news release, the Coast Guard said it rescued five women and two men from the boat using an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter. The group had been part of a fishing tournament.

Officials told WFTV that crews are helping the owner salvage the damaged boat.

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