Three teen cousins killed after being struck by lightning while playing on beach

Three teenagers were killed after being struck by a freak lightning strike while playing on a beach.

Four cousins – Tristan, 15, Rhian, 17, Eunicer, 18, and Patrick, 18 – went for a picnic on the coast near their house in La Union, the Philippines on October 10 when the tragic events unfolded.

They were swimming in the sea when it started raining, followed by rumbling thunder and lightning.

The youngsters – still dripping wet – began gathering their belongings from the sand when a sudden freak lightning bolt struck by the beach near their picnic area.

The youngsters fell unconscious in an instant. They were found by locals almost half an hour after the rain had passed.

Kenneth Castaneda said a neighbour called them to help rescue the teens.

They carried the teenagers to a waiting vehicle by the road before rushing them to the hospital.

However, three of them later died while one – Patrick – was in a critical condition after falling into a coma. He had severe burns on his body and was still comatose in the hospital.

City Chief Meteoroligcal officer Engr Jose Estrada Jr said that the victims’ smartphones could have attracted lightning near them.

He said: “Shiny materials can attract lightning, as well as radiation from smartphones. As much as possible, do not use your phones while outside during a thunderstorm.”

Meanwhile, local council official Jesusa Iglesia said they will be more strict in allowing visitors on the beach.

She said: “We will regularly patrol the beach to prevent teenagers from sneaking in again. Please stay at home especially if the weather condition is bad.” 

La Union province is known as the surf capital of the country, with its long beaches and tall waves.