16-year-old Baylee Holbrook was struck by lightning while hunting with her father in Florida. According to Putnam County officials, the 16-year-old and her father were hit after lighting hit a tree on Tuesday. Her father regained consciousness to find his daughter unconscious and in a critical condition. The father called 911 and began CPR until the arrival of the rescue personnel.
According to data collected from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an average of 28 people die in the US every year from lightning strikes. The CDC noted that an average of 73% of deaths by lightning occur during the summertime. Florida, Colorado, Texas, North Carolina, and Alabama have the most hit of lightning deaths in the US.
Miss Holbrook was rushed to HCA Florida Putnam Hospital where she was stabilized and later moved to a trauma center but she later died on Thursday morning, two days after the incident, officials reported.
Her classmates gathered at Palatka Junior-Senior High School on Wednesday at the gymnasium to pray for her and her family.
Willie McKinnon, a family friend and pastor said; “It’s a very rare occurrence, it truly is. It’s not something you see and hear a lot about. you see car wrecks, you see all these other things but this, is a rare one.”
He talked about Baylee’s character and said: “She cares so much about everyone else. She has a heart for her friends, people she loves, people she comes in contact with and she has a heart for people in general”.
Miss Holbrook was a varsity cheerleader and her friends said she loved being outdoors and to hunt.
Her high school cancelled its athletic events on Thursday to mourn while her friends and classmates gathered at a local church for prayer.
Trinity Baptist Church has offered their condolences on their social media page. They announced being in prayer for the Holbrook family while reflecting and sharing.
The Putnam County Sheriff’s office has issued a warning about increase in lightning strikes this week in the Palatka area, 60 miles south of Jacksonville;
“We want to remind our community that the forecast is predicted several more days of increased rain, thunder and lightning. “Storms can come quickly and lightning can strike up to 10miles away from any rainfall,” the office warned on Wednesday.