Fishing tops list of lightning death occurrences

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NOAA's National Weather Service discovered that 64 percent of lightning deaths since 2006 occurred while people were participating in leisure activities, with fishing topping the list at 26 deaths.

John Jensenius, a lightning safety specialist with the National Weather Service, conducted the study by examining demographic information for 238 deaths attributed to lightning during the past seven years. NOAA released these findings during National Lightning Safety Awareness Week to call attention to the danger of outdoor activities during a thunderstorm.

Of the 152 deaths associated with leisure activities, fishing was followed by camping (15 deaths), boating (14 deaths), soccer (12 deaths) and golf (8 deaths).

The remaining 77 people were struck by lightning while participating in other leisure activities, such as enjoying the beach, swimming, walking and running, riding recreational vehicles and picnicking or relaxing in their yard.

Between 2006 and 2012, 82 percent of people killed by lightning were male.

Jensenius said the large number of fishing, camping and boating lightning deaths could occur because these activities require extra time to get to a safe place.

“People often wait far too long to head to safety when a storm is approaching and that puts them in a dangerous and potentially deadly situation,” he said.

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