1 soldier dead, 9 injured by lightning at Georgia Army base
ATLANTA - One soldier was killed and nine others were injured after an apparent lightning strike at Fort Gordon near Augusta, Georgia.
It happened Wednesday morning on the range training area of the US Army base located just west of Augusta. A base news release said Fort Gordon’s Department of Emergency Services and Emergency Medical Services responded immediately.
An Army spokesperson initially told FOX News 10 soldiers were injured, but later said one of the soldiers had passed away from those injuries.
"It is with a heavy heart Fort Gordon confirms one of the soldiers in the lightning strike this afternoon succumbed to their injuries," said Fort Gordon’s Deputy Public Affairs Officer Anne Bowman.
The soldier’s identity will not be released until his family is notified, Bowman said.
Pentagon officials say the soldiers were treated at the medical center.
Fort Gordon has not released specifics on the condition of the nine other injured soldiers. Their families have been notified, but their names have not been released.
It was not clear at to the extent of their injuries.
"Marty, the girls, and I are praying for the family of this soldier and for those also hurt by this unfortunate lightning strike," Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp wrote on Twitter. "As we hope for their recovery, we ask our fellow Georgians to join us in mourning the loss of their fellow servicemember."
Fort Gordon, located just southwest of Augusta, is home to the United States Army Signal Corps, United States Army Cyber Command, and the Cyber Center of Excellence.
How can you tell if lightning could strike close by?
The FOX 5 Storm Team says those close enough to hear thunder are close enough to be struck by lightning. The best thing to do is to go inside.
The 30/30 rule is one of the most important tips to keep safe during an electrical storm. If it takes less than 30 seconds to hear thunder after seeing a flash of lightning, it is near enough to pose a threat. Once thunder can no longer be heard, wait 30 minutes before resuming outdoor activities.
To get an estimate of how far away a lightning strike is from a location, count the number of seconds it takes to hear thunder and for every five seconds, it equals one mile.
How can you reduce the risk of being struck by lightning?
Following some simple tips will help reduce the risk of being injured by lightning:
- Stay away from windows, and remain indoors
- Don’t seek shelter under a tree, find a shelter
- For those who can't get indoors, crouch low, with as little touching the ground to minimize surface area
- Avoid water during a thunderstorm because lightning can travel through plumbing
What are some facts about lightning?
Here are some characteristics about lightning that is not necessarily widely known:
- A lightning flash is no more than one-inch wide.
- Lightning appears to flicker because it may actually be up to four different strokes in the exact same place.
- Lightning kills and injures more people each year than hurricanes or tornadoes; between 75 and 100 people.
- Lightning is approximately 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit. That's five times hotter than the surface of the sun!
- Lightning seems to be clear or white-yellow color, but it also depends on the background.
- During the summer months, you can see lightning up to 100 miles away (This is not called 'heat lightning')
The Associated Press contributed to this report