Man Killed by Bolt From Clear Blue Sky

ByABC News
July 1, 2001, 1:01 PM

I S L A N D  B E A C H   S T A T E  P A R K, N.J., July 1 -- 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 wasa rare but not unprecedented weather event. Steven McCarthy, 22, of East Windsor, N.J., could not be revived withCPR or a defibrillator. He was pronounced dead at 2:15 p.m. His friend Daryl Kobeski, 23, of Princeton, was also struck butnot 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 MountHolly, said lightning can strike even when skies are clear. "If you're close enough to hear thunder, then you're closeenough to be struck by lightning," Gigi told The Sunday AsburyPark Press of Neptune. "That's pretty much the rule of thumb wefollow."

It Sounded Like a Bomb

At the time of the lightning strike, the park administrator wasnearby in a patrol vehicle. "I thought it was an explosion. It sounded like a bomb" saidpark superintendent William Vibbert. "Then I saw Steven on theground." National Weather Service meteorologist Dean Iovino told TheSunday Star-Ledger of Newark that there was nothing either thelightning strike victims or park officials could have done. The swimming area of the park was closed for the day after thefatality. Bob Marshall, who has worked at the park since the beach thereopened in 1959, said this was the first time he's heard oflightning striking a person there. Lightning continued sporadically for the rest of the afternoonat the beach.