Paul A. Nikas, Chief of Police
15 Elm St.
Ipswich, MA 01938
For Immediate Release
Saturday, September 6, 2014
Contact: John Guilfoil
Ipswich Police Respond to Lightning Strike at Crane Beach
Two Women Struck by Lightning in One of 3 Major Storms to Strike Ipswich on Saturday
IPSWICH – Acting Police Chief Jonathan Hubbard announces that the Ipswich Police Department today responded to a reported lightning strike at Crane Beach.
Calls came in at approximately 4 p.m. Ipswich Police and Fire units arrived minutes later and found a large crowd of people leaving the beach and two women down in the sand with lifeguards performing CPR. Police officers and firefighters continued CPR. They loaded the patients into a lifeguard pickup truck and drove them to the parking lot where they were loaded into waiting ambulances.
The patients, two women in their 60s or 70s, were taken by Action Ambulance to Beverly Hospital. Firefighters drove the ambulances while paramedics from Action and other firefighters continued to work on the patients. The patients had no pulse when rescuers got to them, but each had a pulse restored by the time they arrived at the hospital.
The patients were transferred tonight to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. They are currently in critical condition.
The initial investigation shows that the two women were in the water when they were struck as the storm popped up very quickly. The victims may not have had enough time to exit the water and get to safety.
The 4 p.m. storm was the first of thee serious weather events to strike Ipswich and the surrounding area today.
“First and foremost, our hearts go out to the two women who were struck by lightning this afternoon. We wish them the best and we hope they will recover,” Acting Chief Hubbard said, the officer in charge and the Director of Emergency Management for the town. “This has been a difficult day, with several substantial weather events striking our town, but we are grateful that more people were not injured.”
At peak, 2,000 Ipswich Electric Light Department customers lost power. As of 9 p.m., about 1,200 of the 6,800 electricity customers in Ipswich were without power after the two additional storms brought damaging winds and severe lightning. A lightning strike also partially damaged Ipswich Police radio communications this evening. There was also a line of damage cut through town, with several trees down, roadways blocked, and some homes damaged.
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency is on scene in Ipswich, and officials will investigate whether a microburst or a possible tornado struck Ipswich.
“On behalf of the entire community, I want to express my deepest concern and best wishes to the two women who were struck by lightning at Crane Beach this afternoon. Everyone in Ipswich joins together in keeping them in our thoughts and prayers,” said Robin Crosbie, Ipswich Town Manager. “I also want to thank our residents for their patience during the clean-up efforts and commend them for lending a helping hand to their neighbors who may have had property damage today.”
Police Chief Paul Nikas is on vacation this week. Lieutenant Jonathan Hubbard is Acting Chief during his absence.