HCSO: Lightning strike kills two, injures one

July 16, 2012 7:28:41 AM PDT
A lightning strike during a soccer game killed two people and injured another Sunday. The lightning struck just after noon, hitting a tree near the field in north Houston.

Sheriff's deputies say there were at least a couple hundred people at La Escondida Soccer Club on Hill Road and West Hardy, either watching or participating when it happened. The three victims were under a tree that was struck during the fast-moving storm.

One man died at the scene. A second man was taken to the hospital, where he later died. A third man is at the hospital being treated for burns. He's said to be stable.

"We were playing soccer, and all of a sudden, you could see it starting to lightning, but not as bad and then when I looked up, I saw lightning hit the ground, but I didn't know anybody was in there," said soccer player Jose Mayen.

"It came pretty quick. It was a fast-moving storm," said Deputy R.B. Hamlet with the Harris County Sheriff's Office. "I was out on a call when this one dropped. I didn't have my raincoat on and the next thing I know, it was pouring down rain and this call dropped. It was that fast."

A sheriff's deputy who works at the park as an extra job says they play each week from 9am until 4pm. There are four fields and always a lot of people. He believes the two men killed and one man injured were either resting or waiting for the next game when the lightning struck. Their identities have not been released, but we're told they are in their 30s to 40s.

So far this year, nine lightning deaths have been reported to the National Weather Service. That number does not include the two deaths on Sunday. Of those, there were eight men and one woman and most of them happened on a Saturday. Over the last six years, the month with the most lightning strike deaths has been July.


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