Five Israelis Struck by Lightning on Beach in First Winter Rain

Two of the victims had no pulse and were not breathing when an emergency medical crew arrived at the Zikim beach south of Ashkelon

An ambulance at Zikim beach following a lightning strike, October 15, 2019.

Five people were injured by lightning at Zikim beach just north of the Gaza Strip on Israel's Mediterranean coast on Tuesday, including a 14-year-old boy who was taken to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon in critical condition and a woman in serious condition.

Two of the other victims were lightly injured and the fifth was moderately injured.

An emergency services paramedic, Keren Slabodnik, said the 14-year-old boy and the woman, who had been in the water when they were struck, were unconscious and not breathing and had no pulse when an ambulance crew arrived. The heartbeat of the two was restored following resuscitation efforts.

The Zikim beach following a lightning strike, October 15, 2019.
Ilan Assayag

Tuesday morning brought showers and some thunderstorms throughout the country, along with a risk of flooding of streams in the south and east. The Israel Nature and Parks Authority closed access to the Ein Gedi nature reserve near the Dead Sea and to streams in the Judean Desert due to the threat of floods, although visitors were still allowed to visit the ancient synagogue at Ein Gedi.

Temperatures have remained warm but are predicted to drop in the course of the week.