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One dead, 4 injured in lightning strike in N.Y. park

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Authorities say five people were injured most likely by lightning strike at Mansion Square Park in the City of Poughkeepsie. Alex H. Wagner/Poughkeepsie Journal



Emergency personnel treat an unidentified victim possibly injured in a lightning strike in Mansion Square Park in the City of Poughkeepsie. (Photo: Alex H. Wagner/Poughkeepsie Journal)


POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — One of five people injured in a lightning strike at a park here Friday died early Saturday morning, and two other victims remain in critical condition, authorities say.
The victim who died was as a 50-year-old male, according to Tim Massie, senior vice president at Health Quest, which operates Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie. Two 46-year-old males remain in the intensive care unit.
In all, five people were injured by a single bolt of lightning.
The other two victims, with less severe injuries, were taken to MidHudson Regional Hospital of Westchester Medical Center, which declined to comment on the condition of the patients.
USA TODAY
5 injured in possible N.Y. lightning strike




A fast-moving thunderstorm moved though the region Friday afternoon. The "core" of the storm had passed over the northern part of the city, according to Ingrid Amberger, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany.
Five people were standing by or sitting on a bench near a tree on the northern side of Mansion Square Park at around 4 p.m. when the stormed struck, Poughkeepsie Police said.
Lightning struck a tree and traveled down into the ground, shocking the five unidentified victims, Massie said. The three victims at Vassar Brothers were unresponsive at the park and were described as having life-threatening injuries.
The victims ranged in age from 46 to 55, police said.
City police are investigating the incident.
The chance of being struck by lightning is 1 in 960,000, according to the National Weather Service. In 2016, 25 people were struck and killed by lightning across the U.S., Amberger said.
Lightning strikes generally impact one or two people. It is rare for a group to be injured, said meteorologist Brian Frugis, with the National Weather Service.
"It's pretty unusual," Frugis said. "It's usually a much smaller group."
Earlier this week, Richard Garlock, 34, and Jenea Macleod, 32, were found dead in Batavia, N.Y., due to a lightning strike, according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
STAYING SAFE
The New York Department of Homeland Security offers these safety tips during severe thunderstorms:
Take shelter in a sturdy building. do not take shelter in small sheds or under isolated trees.
<span style="color: Red;">*</span>If a building is not available, get inside a hard-top automobile and keep the windows up. Convertibles won't do.
<span style="color: Red;">*</span>Get out of boats and away from open water.
<span style="color: Red;">*</span>Unplug appliances you don't need and avoid using any electrical appliances.
<span style="color: Red;">*</span>Do not take a bath or shower.
<span style="color: Red;">*</span>Turn off air conditioners. Power surges from lightning can overload the compressors.
If you are caught outdoors and no shelter is nearby:
<span style="color: Red;">*</span>Find a low spot away from trees, fences and poles.
<span style="color: Red;">*</span>If you are in the woods, take shelter under the shorter trees.
<span style="color: Red;">*</span> If you feel your skin tingle or your hair stand on end, squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Make yourself the smallest target possible; minimize your contact with the ground.




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