Los Angeles Fire Department

911 Calls Reveal Panic After Venice Beach Lightning Strike

According to 911 calls, lifeguards were on the scene helping victims soon after the strike

Several 911 calls obtained by NBC4 Tuesday detail the frantic moments after a 20-year-old man was fatally struck by lightning at Venice Beach over the weekend.

"The lifeguard is performing CPR but we...we need an ambulance," the frantic caller said in the call. "Hurry."

The calls, released by the Los Angeles Fire Department, detail witness accounts of what happened on the beach after lightning touched down about 2:20 p.m. near the pier July 27.

Lifeguards also put in a call to dispatchers, but some confusion remained over where exactly the strike happened.

One of the 911 dispatchers could be heard asking another caller what the cross streets of the incident were.

"Driftwood and the beach, literally in the water ... I believe he was hit by lightning," the witness responded.

Nick Fagnano, 20, had stepped into the water to wash off the sand before leaving the beach when lightning struck, family members said. He was taken to Marina Del Rey Hospital where he later died, coroner’s officials said.


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Fagnano was set to enter USC in the fall and was remembered by friends and family as a kind-hearted person who was "full of life."

"Wrong person to go," friend Payton Milone said. "I guess God had a different plan for him."

People who were on the sand as far as 50 yards away from the pier reported being shocked.

Thirteen people who were all in or near the water when the bolts touched down were checked out by firefighters at the scene. Eight of them were taken to hospitals, including seven adults and a 15-year-old, the LAFD said.

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