Fisherman Hit by Lightning

By Karen Araiza
|  Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013  |  Updated 6:06 AM EDT
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A 48-year-old Berkeley Township man was struck by lightning at Island Beach State Park on Tuesday. Spectators say the lightning bolt came down right after lifeguards told everyone to leave the beach. NBC10's Ted Greenberg reports.

NBC10 - Ted Greenberg

A 48-year-old Berkeley Township man was struck by lightning at Island Beach State Park on Tuesday. Spectators say the lightning bolt came down right after lifeguards told everyone to leave the beach. NBC10's Ted Greenberg reports.

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A New Jersey fisherman has a tale to tell but it has nothing to do with the one that got away.

The man survived after being struck by lightning on Island Beach State Park Tuesday.

He was in the process of leaving the beach around 1:15 p.m. when lightning hit his fishing rod, according to New Jersey State Police.

"It appears that the rod was struck and transferred the energy through his body, through his hand and out his feet," said park manager Ray Bukowski.

The victim, a 48-year-old man from Berkeley Township, Ocean County, N.J., is alive and was conscious when emergency crews took him to the hospital.

"As he was leaving in the ambulance, he was responsive and interactive with everyone," Bukowski said.

He complained of tingling and numbness in his legs, according to police.

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At the time of the strike, no lifeguards were in that area of the park, which sits between Barnegat Lighthouse State Park and Seaside Park. A park employee was clearing the beach when the storm rolled in.

The victim is being treated at Jersey Shore University Medical Center and is currently in stable condition.

So far this year, nine people have died from lightning strikes across the country, according to the National Weather Service. Three of the fatalities were men who were fishing when they were struck.

July is the deadliest month for lightning strikes, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

On the safety side, the NWS warns there is no place outside that is considered safe during a thunderstorm. Their motto is, "When Thunder Roars Go Indoors!"

Once you are inside, stay off of corded phones, computers and electrical equipment that could put you in direct contact with electricity. Stay away from water, windows, doors and porches as well as concrete surfaces. You should stay inside of a safe shelter for at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.

If you get caught outside during a thunderstorm and there is no way for you to get to a safe place, you may be able to reduce your risk by getting out of or away from any bodies of water and getting down from elevated areas like hills or peaks. The NWS also warn people to never never take shelter under an isolated tree or lie flat on the ground during a thunderstorm.

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