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Jul 13, 2010 6:44 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Two men rushed to hospital after lightning strike in Westhampton

Jul 13, 2010 6:44 PM

An elderly man was rushed to the hospital on Tuesday afternoon after he was injured by lightning at Cupsogue Beach County Park in Westhampton, according to witnesses.

At about 2:40 p.m., moments after thunderclaps marked the start of a storm, a call went out on emergency frequencies that a man had been struck by lightning at the beach.

Bill Jebaily, a witness, said he was clamming on the westernmost part of the ocean beach with four adult friends and their 11 young children when they saw lightning strike a nearby hill. They left their chairs and supplies and began running off the beach, he said.

Mr. Jebaily, who has homes in Staten Island and Westhampton Beach, said his 9-year-old son, Alex, then came upon an elderly man lying on the ground on a sandy trail that leads to the shore of Moriches Bay. Mr. Jebaily, who called 911, said the man was conscious.

The victim was 73 years old and complained of pains on the left side of his chest, according to another witness, who did not identify himself. Mr. Jebaily said it appeared as though lightning struck somewhere near the man rather than directly hitting his body.

The victim was carrying binoculars and a camera, and appeared to be bird watching, witnesses said. When Alex found the victim, there was another elderly man standing with him, although they appeared to not know each other, Mr. Jebaily said. He said neither man was carrying a cell phone.

At least four Westhampton War Memorial Ambulance vehicles responded to the scene, as well as West Hampton Dunes Constables and Suffolk County Parks Police. The victim was carried off on the bed of a Westhampton War Memorial Ambulance pickup truck, which got stuck briefly in the sand on the steep trail. Several bystanders, including Mr. Jebaily and his friends, helped push it up to the road as rain came down.

Emergency personnel were at the scene within 10 minutes, Mr. Jebaily said.

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As a survivor myself, I wish him a speedy, and uneventful recovery.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 14, 10 1:58 AM
I hope he recovers soon also...on another note THATS MY MOM IN THE BACK ON THE TRUCK...GO RITA!
By Ben1wyatt (1), HUNTINGTON on Jul 15, 10 12:33 PM
The Westhampton War Memorial Ambulance does a terrific job. We're very lucky to have them serving our town.
By Steven (113), Westhampton on Jul 19, 10 7:44 PM