Lightning strike injures eight at Clearwater Beach

A beautiful day for beachgoers at Clearwater Beach quickly took a dark and stormy turn Sunday afternoon. A lightning strike injured eight near a popular restaurant.

Police say one patient was struck by lightning and was critically injured while seven others nearby were affected.

"This man and his family were walking to get out of the rain and out of nowhere a lightning bolt just struck him, and he fell to the ground," Quimari Shelton said.

Police say the people were in the beach area behind Frenchy's Rockaway Grill on Rockaway Street in Clearwater at around 12:30 p.m. when lifeguards left their towers due to bad weather. A 911 call was received shortly after, at 12:42 p.m. reporting that someone had been struck.

Officials hope this will serve as a warning to others if they hear lightning or see a storm coming in from the distance to seek shelter and not take any chances.