A bolt of lightning came out of a blue sky Saturday, striking two beachgoers who were tossing around a football.
One of the young men was killed in what meteorologists said was a rare but not unprecedented weather event. Steven McCarthy, 22, of East Windsor, N.J., could not be revived with CPR or a defibrillator. He was pronounced dead at 2:15 p.m. His friend Daryl Kobeski, 23, of Princeton, was also struck but not severely injured.
Hot, Sunny Day
The two were enjoying the hot, sunny day when the lightning hit. It was a wild bolt thrown out by a storm a few miles off shore. Anthony Gigi, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Mount Holly, said lightning can strike even when skies are clear. "If you're close enough to hear thunder, then you're close enough to be struck by lightning," Gigi told The Sunday Asbury Park Press of Neptune. "That's pretty much the rule of thumb we follow."
‘It Sounded Like a Bomb’
At the time of the lightning strike, the park administrator was nearby in a patrol vehicle. "I thought it was an explosion. It sounded like a bomb" said park superintendent William Vibbert. "Then I saw Steven on the ground." National Weather Service meteorologist Dean Iovino told The Sunday Star-Ledger of Newark that there was nothing either the lightning strike victims or park officials could have done. The swimming area of the park was closed for the day after the fatality. Bob Marshall, who has worked at the park since the beach there opened in 1959, said this was the first time he's heard of lightning striking a person there. Lightning continued sporadically for the rest of the afternoon at the beach.