Georgia boy, 11, struck in head by lightning while fishing in Daytona Beach Shores surf with dad

As with 3 of 4 recent drownings, nearby lifeguard tower was unmanned 

Georgioa boy struck by lightning in Daytona Beach Shores, FL / Headline Surfer®Georgoia boy's hat shredded by lightning bolt on the beach in Daytona Beach Shores lands jim in hospital / Headline SurferPhotos for Headline Surfer® /
Bowen Tyre, 11, shown here un an undated image catching a fish back home in Georgia on in a Facebook page created by his family, is fighting for his life at an Orlando hospital after being struck in the head by lightning Tuesday afternoon at the beach in Daytona Beach Shores, Florida.
Also shown is a similar hat the boy was wearing on the beach, which was shredded on one side from the lightning.
 
UPDATE: 8:30 a.m Wednesday
Family and friends of Bowen Tyre posted an update on his condition on Facebook this morning that reads in part: "Bowen moved his right side and squeezed the nurse's hand (but) the left side isn't moving yet - they have just taken him down for an MRI - will know more soon thanks for your prayers!"
 

DAYTONA BEACH SHORES, Fla. -- An 11-year-old boy visiting from Georgia was struck by lightning Tuesday afternoon while fishing in knee-deep water with his father in Daytona Beach Shores and rendered unconscious. Thankfully however, a nearby surfing instructor came to his rescue and administered CPR.

Bowen Tyre, however remains in critical condition on this Tuesday night at Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando.

Headline Surfer® has learned from sources that had it not been for the quick action of the surfing instructor, identified as LJ Kuzmovich, the boy might not have made it off the beach alive. 

That's because it took a full 5 minutes for emergency personnel to arrive on scene once Kuzmovich started performing CPR, county officials acknowledged. 

Even though it wasn't raining and there were no dark clouds overhead, the unthinkable happened at 1 p.m. when the boy was fishing in knee-deep water with his father.

Then just like that came the lightning bolt followed by unmistakeable sound of thunder and the rain after the boy was placed in an ambulance and rushed to nearby Halifax Hospital in Daytona Beach.

LJ Kuzmovich, who performed CPR on a Georgia boy, 11, struck by lightning in in the surf in Daytona Beach Shores, FL, speaks with reporters /  Headline Surfer®Headline Surfer® has learned from sources that had it not been for the quick action of the surfing instructor, identified as LJ Kuzmovich, (shown here on the beach), the boy might not have made it off the beach alive. 

That's because it took a full 5 minutes for emergency personnel to arrive on scene once Kuzmovich started performing CPR, county officials acknowledged. Even though it wasn't raining and there were no dark clouds overhead, the unthinkable happened at 1 p.m. when the boy was fishing in knee-deep water with his father. Then just like that, the lightning bolt struck followed by unmistakeable sound of thunder and the rain after the boy was was placed in an ambulance and  rushed to nearby Halifax Hospital in Daytona Beach.

The surf instructor, who was operating his summer camp, Pure Life Surf School at the time of the 1 p.m. strike, described the bolt as coming out of nowhere. This 11-year-old boy, identified through social media as Bowen Tyre, was in serious condition as Tuesday turned to Wednesday.

"There was no thunder. It was just a lightning bolt crash, " Kuzmovich said later that afternoon surrounded by Tv camera news crews and other press outlets. "It was just out of the blue."

With extensive training in CPR, the surf instructor didn't hesitate in reacting and running some 40 yards to the victim after his father's screams for help.

"It's one of those fight or flight responses," Kuzmovich said of his instinct yo help as the father cradled his unconscious son in his arms at water's edge amid all the foam build-up from the ebb and flow of the surf.

Bowen Tyree, struck by lightning is shown during a previous vacation to Daytona / Headline Surfer®Lightning strike victim Bowen Tyree and family / Headline Surfer®Updated: These images were posted just after 8:30 a.m  today, on a Facebook page set up by Bowen Tyre's family, In the larger image: Bowen is shown on the beach in Daytona with his kid brother during a previous visit.
In the inset, Bowen is shown alone and with his immediate family.
 

"He didn't have a pulse and we started our compressions and then he started spitting up and we were able to roll him over."

Kuzmovich said 5 minutes passed, which seemed like an eternity, before the Volusia County beach patrol showed up, along with other emergency personnel and the boy was transported by ambulance to Halifax Health Medical Center 10 minutes away.

Bowen was later transported to the Orlando hospital, which specializes in emergency care involving this kind of dangerous weather mishap as he continued fighting for his life -- breathing with the help of a ventilator.

Four other tourists who jumped into the Daytona-area beaches since Sunday of Memorial Day weekend never made it out of the surf alive -- all drowning victims.

Like the situation with the child struck by lightning, there were no lifeguards on towers in three of the four drowning incidents.

"Thank God the surfing instructor was nearby," Volusia County Councilman Joshua J. Wagner said, seemingly at a loss for words as to how or why this could have happened. "The boy is lucky to be alive. From what I understand, the lightning struck him right on the top of his head and burned a hole through a baseball hat he was wearing."

Volusia County has had difficulty with staffing of lifeguards, especially during the holiday weekend because less teens are applying for the part-time positions compared to past years, officials have said.

When asked about the lifeguards shortages, Wagner deferred to county spokesman Dave Byron, who did not return calls for comment.

FAST FACTS: Florida leads nation in lightning-related deaths

Lightning is the most underrated weather hazard, killing more people annually than tornadoes or hurricanes. Only floods kill more. Lightning's potentially deadly nature includes its ability to strike as far as 10 miles from the area where it is raining.If you can hear thunder, then the lightning is even closer, even if it isn't yet raining.
• Florida, which led the nation in lightning deaths between 2005 and 2014, with 47 people killed, gets 90 percent of its strikes between June and September. Most strikes occur between 2 and 10 p.m.
• Of those struck between 2006 and 2012, 82 percent were men.
• Since 2006, 64 percent of lightning deaths nationwide (238) occurred when people were participating in leisure activities such as fishing, camping, boating, soccer and golf.
• Florida averages about 1.4 million lightning strikes a year. Nationwide, it's more than 22 million strikes.
• Lightning can generate heat up to 60,000 degrees Fahrenheit and several million volts of electricity.
Meteorologists recommend taking shelter and waiting 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder before going back outdoors.
Source: National Weather Service
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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.