Girl, 15, dies after being struck by lightning while swimming in the ocean

A teenage girl died after being struck by lightning while swimming in the ocean.

The 15-year-old was pronounced dead in hospital after being spotted off the Georgia coast in the US.

Tybee Island police said emergency services were called to a girl in the water at around 2.30pm on Saturday.

Firefighters and lifeguards performed CPR on the girl who had been visiting along with her family from Alabama, Mail Online reports.

A police statement said: "The men and women of the City of Tybee Island are deeply saddened by the loss of this young woman and our hearts remain with her family and friends."

Tybee Island Mayor Shirley Sessions in a statement: "Often swimmers and beach goers are enjoying the moment and when storms appear suddenly, the unthinkable can occur.

"All of us on Tybee have heavy hearts today, especially the first responders who desperately tried to save her life. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of this young lady."

A witness, Riley Smith, wrote on Facebook: "Saw the whole thing unfold in front of lighthouse pizza north.

"The lifeguards did a great job doing CPR in the back seat while the fire department met the ambulance as close as possible.

"I hope she can make it though. I will say the lifeguards looked better than the EMS that took her."

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Around 49 people are killed and hundreds more are injured by lightning every year in the US, according to the National Weather Service.

"Lightning doesn't strike the ocean as much as land, but when it does, it spreads out over the water, which acts as a conductor," according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"If you're at the beach and hear thunder or see lightning, get out of the water. Get off the beach and take shelter in a building or in your car."

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Studies estimate there are about 50 bolts of lightning per second across the Earth.

One in five are thought to strike the ground.

US researchers wrote in StatPearls: "Lightning is a frequent occurrence worldwide with an estimated 50 occurrences per second and 20% of those resulting in ground strikes.

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"It is impossible to know exactly, but it is estimated that worldwide there are approximately 24,000 fatalities with ten times as many injuries annually due to lighting.

"Most of these incidents are avoidable. It is important that the clinician has a sound understanding of the injuries that can occur and the proper treatment of lightning-related injuries."

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