Anglers top the list for most commonly hit by lightning

By: Joseph Dames Email
By: Joseph Dames Email

Open greens, metal golf clubs, and unsettled weather seem like the perfect storm brewing up disaster. But a new study shows golfers are not the most at-risk group for lightning deaths.

The National Weather Service says the majority of lightning deaths happen during leisurely activities, anglers are out in the open and far away from help and that makes them most vulnerable.

Angler Bill Vasel says, “in the high country it's always dangerous whether you are walking or on the water, typically I try to stay off the boat, but that would be the worse case for me on a metal boat out in the middle of a lake".

A thunderstorm can pop up when you least expect it...and a new study from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the danger is highest to anglers.

Enthusiasts though say the weather is just something you have to be wary of and say it's similar to reeling in a fish.

“You try to read the weather like trying to read the river, you try to figure out where the fish are, it's the same thing, right now it's overcast. I’m definitely looking out", said Andy Brito, of A-N-G Outfitters.

Lightning safety specialists say nearly 238 deaths are attributed to lightning in the last 7 years across the country. 152 of them happened during leisure activities. Sadly, anglers caught the top spot, with 26 deaths.

Experts say it's most likely due to being so far away from a safe zone, and fishing guide Andy Brito says you have to prepare ahead of time, “if I’m way out in the middle it's going to take more time, so I’m going to hang around the edge, in the event that if I do have to head in, it's two minutes rather than 10 to 15 minutes from the center".

So when you hear the first boom of thunder or see the clouds rolling in, having a quick route to safety is your best bet.

“You tend to know it's coming because you can hear it from a long while away and you are watching the weather anyways, but if I see the storm coming in, that is the time to get off", said Vasel.

NWS officials say lightning can strike up to 10 miles away from a storm, so if you hear thunder, it's best to find shelter


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