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Lightning Kills Girl at Soccer Game


Paraphrased by:
Steve Waldrop
September 23, 2003

A summer afternoon in July turned into tragedy when lightning struck and killed a teen age girl during a youth soccer game in Fredericton, Maine.

14 year-old Sarah Elizabeth McLain, a junior high school student, was directly struck by a bolt of lightning while on the field. Emergency medical technicians attempted to revive McLain, but failed. She was taken to Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton, where she was pronounced dead, according to police reports.

Over 20 people were taken to Chalmers Hospital for medical attention and observation including a 16-year-old officiating linesman who was knocked unconscious.

According to witnesses the lightning came out of nowhere after a period of drizzling rain. There were some dark clouds in the distance, but the sun had come out.

Ron LeBlanc, whose daughter was playing on an adjacent field, told reporters that the lightning strike was "a freak of nature."

"It was just thunder and lightning at the same time with no warning whatsoever," LeBlanc said. "It was just like 'boom' instantaneous. It felt like a bomb."

A spokesman for Environment Canada, Roch Rivard said that the lightning strike came from an isolated thunderstorm.

"It's just a typical time {of the year} when you have warm temperatures and a bit of humidity in the air," he said. "It was very typical and it was very, very isolated and quite small."

Weather conditions did not appear to be too dangerous while the teens were on the field. On-field officials decide when play should stop due to bad weather.


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