A surprise storm left one dead from a lightning strike while boating on Lake Harding on Friday night in eastern Lee County. It might have been the first lightning death in Lee County in decades.
Toby Burrow, a 34-year-old Valley resident, was located with no signs of life and immediately transported to East Alabama Medical Center where he was pronounced dead upon arrival at 9:35 p.m. Friday.
According to the National Weather Service website, Burrow is the eighth person in the United States to die from being struck by lightning in 2017.
The emergency call was received at approximately 8:13 p.m. and Lee County Deputies, EAMC EMS and Beulah Volunteer Fire and Rescue responded.
Lee County Coroner Bill Harris' report showed that Burrow and four other people were boating on Lake Harding when the storm caught them off guard. After lightning struck, the vessel was disabled and two of the occupants had to swim the boat to shore.
The other two occupants performed CPR on Burrow until they reached land and met the EMS. Two of the four survivors sought medical care after the incident.
Harris said he did not recall any other lightning strike deaths in Lee County in the last three decades. National Weather Service statistics show that none of the lightning deaths in Alabama since 2007 were in Lee County.
Other national lightning strike deaths occurred in Colorado, Texas, North Carolina and four in Florida. The accident remains under investigation by the Lee County Coroner's Office and the Lee Country Sheriff's Office.
Last year, Alabama was second in lightning deaths with four. Burrow is the first in Alabama so far this year.