One person has died and multiple people were injured after a tree near a river was struck by lightning Thursday afternoon, on Independence Day, in Georgetown County, near the Lawshe Plantation, a 1,000-acre wildlife habitat along the Black River, 60 miles south of Myrtle Beach.
The incident happened around 2 p.m. as isolated storms passed over the region. Repeated strikes blasted the area.The person killed was 44-year-old Ryan Gamble of Andrews, S.C., who died shortly after being transported to the hospital in critical condition. 12 people were injured in the incident and four were unresponsive. Pouring rain and unpaved back roads made it difficult to reach the area for emergency crews.The group of people affected were all family and friends, aged between 9-46 years-old. "We were just sitting in the river waiting for the storm to blow over.
The lightning hit the tree and ran through all of us,” said Joseph Dalzell. About 25% of all lightning events worldwide are strikes between the atmosphere and earth-bound objects. The primary conducting channel, the bright coursing light that may be seen and is called a "strike", is only about one inch in diameter. Lightning strikes can produce severe injuries, and have a mortality rate of between 10% and 30%, with up to 80% of survivors sustaining long-term injuries.