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South Carolina Man Walking on Beach
Killed by Lightning


August 1, 2007

A man was killed by a lightning strike as he walked on the beach at Hilton Head Island in Beaufort County, South Carolina.

Authorities said that 22-year-old Michael Jurist, a part time resident of the island and his mother, Vesna Jurist, were taking an afternoon walk on the beach when a thunderstorm quickly developed.

Storms that would dump heavy rain along South Carolina's southern coast were moving into the area at the time, according to the National Weather Service. "There was a lot of lightning," said Mike Wagner, operations manager of Shore Beach Service, the company hired to patrol the island's beaches.

Almost immediately after being struck, two lifeguards arrived and began performing CPR on Michael, who was unresponsive, lying on the beach. Medics arrived within minutes and continued trying to revive him while on the way to the hospital. Michael Jurist was pronounced dead at Hilton Head Regional Medical Center.

Physicians indicated that Michael's injuries were consistent with those of a lightning strike, said Captain Bob Bromage, Beaufort County's death investigator. Jurist's mother also exhibited evidence of being struck, but her injuries were more minor, authorities said.

"Its a freak accident, and it's really unfortunate", said Bromage.

Michael Jurist's death was Beaufort County's first lightning fatality since 2002.

"If you can hear a thunderstorm, you pretty much can be struck by lightning", said John Quagliariello, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston, SC.

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