Lake Worth teen struck by lightning while fishing

By John Bachman - bio | email

LAKE WORTH, FL (WFLX) - His fishing poll blown to pieces, his hair and clothes burned: A 17-year-old takes a close hit from a lightning strike Monday afternoon after a nasty cell of storms moved through west Lake Worth.

The latest word is that 17-year-old Jospeh Guerrero is recovering at Delray Medical Center. He was burned and knocked unconscious after getting struck by lighting while fishing in a backyard pond.

Even the electrical box, which controls the fountain in the pond, is charred, too.

Justin Jones witnessed the incident. "It was like an orange ring, circle, like a bright light. It looked like the sun was just sitting here."

"For some reason, I just looked over to the right, and, 'Boom', I saw big lightning strike hit the kid, and I saw the kid go down face first," neighbor Peter Kuperman added.

Both Kuperman and Jones saw and heard the lightning strike that took down their 17-year-old neighbor Joseph Guerrero Monday afternoon as thunder storms rolled across Palm Beach County.

Witnesses say when they first heard thunder and saw the lightning. Guerrero, must have too, because he started walking home -- only he never made it. "I never thought I'd really see something like this," said Jones.

He and Kuperman say the teen lightning strike victim was in bad shape when they ran to help him. "All his hair was burnt, his clothes were ripped apart, all over the place, his fishing pole was no where to be found," described Kuperman.

"It was hard to explain. It was like, you went in the microwave for a few minutes, and, when he came out, it was like boyles, like bubbles, that were like black and blue," continued Jones.

"He wasn't breathing, so I just turned him over with the help of somebody else, punched him in the chest, and he started coming to," said Kuperman.

After paramedics rushed Guerrero to the hospital, all that was left were small pieces of his charred rod and reel and clothes.

Witnesses say, they're walking away with a scary realization of just how much damage a lightning strike can cause. "It just goes to show you that, you don't have to be in the storm to actually get hit," Kuperman concluded.

Witnesses say the victim was awake, but confused when he was taken to the hospital. Neighbors also say he is doing better, and he could return home Tuesday.

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