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One Death, One Injury from Lightning Strike in Virginia


Hits are usually a thing to cheer at a ball park, especially when your team gets the hits and resulting runs. Wednesday a ball park in Virginia experienced a different kind of hit – a lightning strike hit two boys. One died and the other was critically injured.

The tragic lightning strike occurred Wednesday on a ball field south of Fredericksburg, Virginia. Spotsylvania County sheriff's 1st Sgt. Liz Scott is reported to say umpires had halted a Little League baseball game because of the weather and ordered participants off the field.

Chelal Matos, 12, and an 11-year-old teammate stayed on the field and played catch under parents' supervision. The lightning strike hit Matos with the charge transferring to his teammate. Matos died. His teammate is in critical condition at a Richmond hospital.

Chelal's father, Robert Matos, is reported to have been filled with pride as he watched his son play prior to the tragedy. "He was the only one who scored," he said. "He got up, he got on base, he stole second, he stole third, and he went home."

Lightning is the second deadliest weather phenomena. It’s peak season is summer, but lightning strikes occur year around. In the United States, an average of 62 people are killed each year by lightning. Many others are injured each year.

People who are survive lightning strikes may suffer from a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms, including memory loss, attention deficits, sleep disorders, numbness, dizziness, stiffness in joints, irritability, fatigue, weakness, muscle spasms, depression, and an inability to sit for long.

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Lightning is a serious danger. The best safety tip is “When thunder roars, Go inside” Here are some others:

Thunder can be heard from as far away as 10 miles. Lightning can strike from that distance. If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance. Seek safe shelter immediately.

Where organized outdoor sports activities take place, the adults in charge should stop activities at the first roar of thunder and move everyone inside a large building or enclosed vehicle.

When you are inside, avoid corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity.

Stay away from pools, indoor or outdoor, tubs, showers and other plumbing.

Buy surge suppressors for key equipment. Install ground fault protectors on circuits near water or outdoors. When inside, wait 30 minutes after the last strike, before going out again.

Fox News
A Lightning Safety site just for kids
NOAA's National Weather Service