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Lightning kills 2 on jet skis in Puerto Rico  

The last death by lightning on the island occurred almost exactly five years ago on September 5, 2017

Lightning
Lightning | Petar Bogdanov

September 5, 2022 8:26pm

Updated: September 6, 2022 2:32pm

Two people died on Monday after they were struck by lightning while riding jet skis in Puerto Rico, police reported. 

According to authorities, the lightning first struck a 36-year-old man who was driving a jet ski in Cayo Matias near Salinas. The lightning then made contact with a 26-year-old woman who was a passenger aboard another jet ski. The driver of the second vehicle was unharmed. 

The man that was struck by lightning died immediately, according to police. The woman was brought ashore, where she died shortly after. 

The identities of the two victims have not yet been released. 

The lightning came as Tropical Storm Earl entered the U.S. territory on Sunday afternoon, bringing along heavy rain to the island. 

The last death by lightning on the island occurred almost exactly five years ago on September 5, 2017, according to the National Lighting Safety Council, an organization that promotes lightning safety education and awareness. 

Before that, two additional people have been struck and killed by lighting in 2009 and 2006. 

In 2022, at least 17 individuals have been killed by lightning in the U.S. and its territories since 2022, added the council. 

Lightning fatalities can occur when an individual spends a significant amount of time outside while a storm approaches or pass by. 

"If you are outside, you are vulnerable to a possible lightning strike," John Jensenius from the National Lightning Safety Council told FOX Weather, adding that "When thunder roars, go indoors!"

"That simple message can save many lives," he said. "Chances are that if you are hearing any thunder, even a distant rumble, you're within striking distance of the storm. Many people don’t understand that lightning can strike more than 10 miles from the rain area in a thunderstorm and that even a distant rumble of thunder should serve as an immediate warning to get inside.”