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A 19-year-old lifeguard was killed and seven other people, including three other lifeguards, were injured when lightning struck a Jersey Shore beach Monday afternoon.

The strike took place at 4.35pm at the 21st Avenue beach in South Seaside Park, the Berkeley Township Police Department reported. 

The male lifeguard who was killed has been named as 19-year-old Keith Pinto. At the time of lightning strike he was seated in an elevated aluminum chair. 

It is unknown at this time whether the lifeguard stand was grounded and otherwise in compliance with lightning safety guidelines. 

Among the injured were three other lifeguards and four beachgoers, ranging in age from 15 to 51, who have not been named as of Tuesday morning. 

Lifeguard Keith Pinto, 19, was struck by lightning and killed on a beach on Berkley Township, New Jersey on Monday

Lifeguard Keith Pinto, 19, was struck by lightning and killed on a beach on Berkley Township, New Jersey on Monday

The lightning strike that killed Pinto also injured seven other people

The lightning strike that killed Pinto also injured seven other people

Lifeguard Keith Pinto, 19, was struck by lightning and killed on a beach on Berkley Township, New Jersey on Monday. The lightning strike also injured seven other people 

A lifeguard chair sits overturned on the sand at the beach in Berkeley Township, in New Jersey, where a young lifeguard was killed and seven others injured by a lightning strike Monday afternoon

A lifeguard chair sits overturned on the sand at the beach in Berkeley Township, in New Jersey, where a young lifeguard was killed and seven others injured by a lightning strike Monday afternoon

A lifeguard chair sits overturned on the sand at the beach in Berkeley Township, in New Jersey, where a young lifeguard was killed and seven others injured by a lightning strike Monday afternoon 

They included a 50-year-old woman, a 51-year-old man and a 19-year-old man, police told NBC10.  

Ocean County Sheriff Michael Mastronardy said the seven were taken to Community Medical Center in Toms River with injuries that were not considered life-threatening. They were treated for headaches, dizziness and hearing issues. 

Vince Ruffolo told NBC10 that he was close to the aluminum life guard stand when he felt a jolt and was then thrown off his feet.

He said: ‘Picture an explosion and an explosion happens all of a sudden, without giving you any warning. Next thing you know you’re on the ground and then you have an odor like burning hair. So it was very, very dramatic for us.’

It marked the second death of a young lifeguard at the Jersey Shore in a little over a week, after 16-year-old Norman Inferrera III died in a boating accident on August 20

Flowers sit at the edge of an overturned lifeguard stand on the sand where the lifeguard was killed

Flowers sit at the edge of an overturned lifeguard stand on the sand where the lifeguard was killed

Flowers sit at the edge of an overturned lifeguard stand on the sand where the lifeguard was killed

Monday’s incident marks the ninth lightning death in the US this year, according to the National Lightning Safety Council. 

The last was in Wisconsin on August, 24, the agency reported.  

‘Our hearts are with the family and friends of the young lifeguard killed by today´s horrific lightning strike on the beach in Berkeley Township, and we pray for a full recovery for those injured,’ New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy wrote on Twitter. 

‘I´ve spoken to Mayor Carmen Amato and offered the full support and assistance of our administration during this difficult time.’

Amato said his township’s beaches will be closed to swimming Tuesday through Thursday as crisis counselors are made available to beach staff and lifeguards. 

‘This is a tragic and heartbreaking day for our town and the entire Jersey Shore,’ Amato said in a statement. 

‘This young person was out there every day protecting the lives of others. Our lifeguard teams, like so many along the shore, develop special connections with our community throughout the summer, which makes this loss even greater.

A note left with flowers was seen placed by the lifeguard stand

A note left with flowers was seen placed by the lifeguard stand

A note left with flowers was seen placed by the lifeguard stand 

‘On behalf of myself and our entire community, I offer our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of this young man,’ he said. 

DailyMail.com on Tuesday reached out to the mayor seeking comment on lifeguard safety and was awaiting a reply.  

A handwritten note in purple ink was left with flowers Monday night at the base of a lifeguard stand at the beach.

‘We were at the beach today and are grateful for what you’ve done for us by keeping us safe at the beach,’ the note read. ‘We are so sorry for your loss.’ 

Pete Tortorelli was tending an outdoor bar a block away from the beach Monday when, he said, lightning struck seemingly out of nowhere.

‘It looked a little cloudy in one direction but clear as anything in the other direction, and it was the first lightning of the day,’ he said. 

‘Literally two minutes after I saw the lightning, every cop car in this town was screaming down the street.’

Thomas Taberoni was at a beachfront house 100 yards away from the lifeguard stand, noticing that it was beginning to get cloudy, when he heard what he described as the loudest noise he had ever heard.

Empty beach chairs sat near where the lifeguard, along with seven others were struck. Beaches in the Berkeley Township will remain closed until Thursday due to the incident

Empty beach chairs sat near where the lifeguard, along with seven others were struck. Beaches in the Berkeley Township will remain closed until Thursday due to the incident

Empty beach chairs sat near where the lifeguard, along with seven others were struck. Beaches in the Berkeley Township will remain closed until Thursday due to the incident  

Beachgoers at the beaches along the coast of Jersey's Berkeley Township. Police say the strike occurred at 4.35pm at the 21st Avenue beach

Beachgoers at the beaches along the coast of Jersey's Berkeley Township. Police say the strike occurred at 4.35pm at the 21st Avenue beach

Beachgoers at the beaches along the coast of Jersey’s Berkeley Township. Police say the strike occurred at 4.35pm at the 21st Avenue beach

‘Have you ever been to an air show when they break the sound barrier with that boom and you weren´t prepared for it?’ he asked. ‘This was like 100 times louder than that.’

Lynda McHugh had just left the beach when she saw two large bolts of lightning come straight down. 

Within moments, people were running up the ramp from the beach and down the wooden stairs to safety.

Police said in a Facebook post that they were investigating reports of lightning strikes in the township, and would release further information as it becomes available.

The other New Jersey lifeguard to be killed in recent days was 16-year-old Norman Inferrera III, who died on August 20, a day after an accident in Cape May, on New Jersey’s southern tip. 

A lifeboat he was rowing was struck by a wave and flipped over, knocking him unconscious, authorities said.

Source: Daily Mail

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