A 14-year-old boy who was struck by lightning during a family outing to a beach died Wednesday after succumbing to his wounds.
Asher Hazut was rushed to Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center in critical condition Tuesday after he and other members of his family were injured by a lightning strike at the nearby Zikim beach.
Doctors had worked to save him, but were forced to declare his death Wednesday afternoon.
Four other members of the Beersheba family were also injured by the strike, as thunderstorms ripped across the country Tuesday afternoon.
Asher Hazut’s sister-in-law Efrat Hazut, 22, was rushed to the same hospital’s intensive care unit in serious condition. Her husband Elazar Hazut, 24, his 17-year-old brother Elhanan, and their 13-year-old cousin were all hospitalized in moderate condition. They were each still being treated at Barzilai as of Wednesday evening.
The death is the first in Israel from a lightning strike since 2007, when a fisherman was killed off the northern coast.
The Hazut family had been packing up to leave the beach after seeing a storm approaching when the bolt struck them.
“My wife, siblings and I went to the beach to play and swim. We ate and played before we saw lightning strike far away,” Elazar Hazut told reporters from his hospital bed on Tuesday.
“It began to get cloudy, so we said ‘okay let’s pack up.’ It was very scary. There was a lot of noise, too. My sister-in-law had already started heading toward the car. The next thing I remember was being woken up by Magen David Adom [paramedics],” he added. “I looked for my kippa and saw that it had been burned.”
Eyewitnesses described fleeing the scene as the lightning struck.
“There was a flash as if someone had thrown a stun grenade,” said Guy Shlapkov, who was also at the beach. “We folded up our tent, I grabbed my bag and began running toward our car.”
“While I was running, I saw a man on the shore waving his hands and calling for an ambulance. I saw four others lying on the ground. It was really chaotic,” he added.
Shlapkov had one of his friends call an ambulance while others tended to the victims before medics arrived at the scene.
The early season storm rattled through the country, causing sporadic power outages, a bridge collapse, shuttered beaches and canceled concerts across the country, as Israelis marked the week-long Sukkot holiday.