Man dies after lightning strike in NY park; 4 others injured

Emergency personnel put an unidentified victim possibly injured in a lightning strike onto a stretcher in Mansion Square Park in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Friday, Aug. 12, 2016. A city official says five people have been sent to hospitals with serious injuries after a powerful thunderstorm hit a Poughkeepsie park. (Alex Wagner/The Journal via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — A man hit by lightning at a park in New York’s Hudson Valley died Saturday, a hospital spokesman said, while four other people wounded by the same strike remained hospitalized.

The 50-year-old man succumbed to his injuries around 1 a.m. Saturday at Vassar Brothers Medical Center, according to Tim Massie, a senior vice president at hospital operator Health Quest. The victim’s name wasn’t immediately released as the hospital and authorities worked to locate his family.

The victims, ranging in age from 46 to 55, were gathered around a bench at Mansion Square Park in Poughkeepsie when a fast-moving thunderstorm hit around 4 p.m. Friday, city police said.

Emergency responders found three people unresponsive, two others conscious but injured, and some belongings on fire.

Two 46-year-old men remained in intensive care Saturday at the Vassar hospital with burns and internal injuries, Massie said. He said one of the victims was doing well enough that he could be moved from intensive care within about two days, while the other was more gravely hurt and would likely remain longer in the ICU.

Police said two other, less gravely injured people were taken to another hospital; a hospital spokeswoman didn’t immediately return a call Saturday about their conditions.

The bolt hit two days after a man and a woman were killed by an apparent lightning strike in a western New York cemetery.

But such deaths, overall, are rare. While lightning strikes the United States about 25 million times a year, it kills an average of 49 people annually, injuring hundreds more, according to the National Weather Service.

Before Friday, 25 people had died of lightning strikes nationwide so far this year, in circumstances ranging from watching a music festival to walking to their cars. Florida has seen more lightning fatalities — six — than any other state this year.

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