Woman struck by lighting on Mass. beach while walking her dog, police say

Savin Hill Beach

A woman walking her dog at Savin Hill Beach was critically injured when she was struck by lightning while walking her dog Saturday afternoon, according to Massachusetts State Police.

The 31-year-old Dorchester woman remains in critical condition, and authorities were trying to find her dog Bruce, who ran off following the blast, police said. A social media group dedicated to finding lost pets in Boston said Sunday morning that Bruce, an Australian shepherd, was found and reuni.

The woman, whom police did not name, was walking Bruce along the boardwalk at the beach when she stopped to speak to another person, a 49-year-old woman, police said. As they spoke, a lightning bolt struck the area they were standing, throwing them both into the air, police said.

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The two women were thrown in different directions, with the 31-year-old woman landing on the beach, unresponsive. The 49-year-old woman wasn’t believed to have been struck by the lightning and told police she would seek medical care if she felt she needed it, police said.

People called 911 and and began performing CPR on the 31-year-old woman before Boston EMS arrived and took the woman to Boston Medical Center, police said.

Bruce, whose owner was struck by lightning, was missing after the incident. (Image courtesy Massachusetts State Police)

A witness interviewed by WCVB said she heard the blast.

“I went out to the deck to see if everything was OK and immediately noticed that there was someone on the ground,” said Meghan Ellis. There was a passerby yelling to call 911″

A second witness told WCVB she saw the woman laying on the ground and went up to her as someone was performing CPR. She said it looked it she had a burn wound on her chest, but that a pulse returned during CPR.

“From what I was told … she had an exit wound on her lower back,” Tracy Cronin told WCVB. “Her pants were just burned off of her.”

Lightning strikes are rare, but they do happen. Over the course of 1959 through 2016, there were more than 4,000 deaths by lightning strike in the United States, according to the National Weather Service. Of those, 33 took place in Massachusetts, the data showed.

If caught in a lightning storm, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends seeking shelter immediately, ideally going indoors. The organization further recommends to avoid open spaces and tall structures, and to avoid open structures or vehicles.

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