Authorities Search For Missing Middle School Student After Lightning Strike Capsizes Boat In Florida

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Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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Authorities are searching for a student who went missing after lightning reportedly struck near a group of students while they were rowing on a lake in Orlando, Florida, Thursday.

Five students, all believed by police to be in middle school, were rowing near the North Orlando Rowing Complex on Lake Fairview when lightning struck, leading authorities to rush to the scene before 6 p.m., Orlando Fire Department Executive Deputy Chief Ian Davis said at a news conference. The Orlando dive team is reportedly searching for a missing student.

The dive team is performing a rescue mission to find the student, Orlando Fire Department spokesperson Jennifer DeSantis said in a statement to the Daily Caller. Davis said the dive team will search rigorously to locate the missing child.

“The rowing club was on the lake practicing,” Davis said during the news conference. “There was a lightning strike in the area. We’re unsure whether it actually hit the vessel or actually was just in the area. The boat was capsized. It had five students on the vessel.”

“We’re going to use every diver that we have to be able to see if we can locate the missing child,” Davis added. (RELATED: Over 30 Migrants Drown Trying To Get To UK After Boat Capsizes) 

It is unknown whether the lightning hit the vessel, Davis noted during the news conference.

Davis said one of the students had to be hospitalized and the other three were treated at the scene and taken home, according to the outlet. Authorities are unsure of the victims’ ages or the school they attend, he added during the news conference.

The Orange County Fire Department, Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, and Orange County Sheriff’s Office are also contributing to the search, the fire department told the Daily Caller. Orange County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit arrived to the scene at 5:30 a.m. with two boats equipped with sonar to help with the search.

At least four lightning strikes occurred near the lake between 5:46 p.m. and 6 p.m. from storms that had developed south of Tampa according to radar from the lake, CNN reported. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has labeled Florida the “lightning capital” of the U.S., noting over 2,000 lightning injuries have occurred over the past 50 years.