Beach lightning storm: Critically injured man was off-duty lifeguard

A 55-year-old man who remains hospitalized after the rare lightning storm at Venice Beach this past weekend is a Los Angeles County lifeguard who was off duty at the time, officials said.

UCLA hospital officials Tuesday upgraded the condition of the man, who hasn’t been identified, from critical to fair.

He was in the water when he was hurt during the lightning storm, said Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Scott Miller, who declined to release any further details about the victim, citing privacy laws.

Los Angeles County firefighters Sunday said the man was surfing when the lightning struck.

The extreme weather event resulted in 12 other injuries, including the death of Nick Fagnano, 20, of Los Angeles. Fagnano was pronounced dead not long after he was pulled out of the water.


A prayer service in honor of Fagnano is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Saint Charles Borromeo Church, 10800 Moorpark Street, North Hollywood.

Also Tuesday, the National Weather Service said Southern California saw more than 1,400 lightning strikes over the weekend as unstable air masses created thunderstorm cells that rarely make it as far west as the coastline.

In Los Angeles County, 28 cloud-to-ground strikes were logged from Friday to Monday.

For breaking news in Los Angeles and throughout California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA. She can be reached at