3 struck by lightning at New Smyrna Beach park

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. — Three people were struck by lightning Thursday evening at Smyrna Dunes Park in New Smyrna Beach.

Someone called 911 shortly after 7:30 p.m. to report that a person had been struck by lightning, officials said.

Relatives of Kaylyn Peeples, 22, said she and her boyfriend, Connor Curtis, 25, were struck by lightning when they sought shelter from an approaching storm.

"They were surfing, and then it started to rain," said Mason Peeples, Kaylyn Peeples' brother. "The waves were really good yesterday, so they went and just sat underneath the boardwalk with a few other people."

Kaylyn Peeples' mother, Melanie Peeples, described her daughter as strong and very smart.

"They were probably doing the smartest thing they could at that point," she said. "This is not going to deter her ... She'll be back (at the beach) as soon as she can."

The family said Peeples was released from the hospital Thursday evening, and Curtis remains hospitalized.

Gilday Francis, 51, was also struck. Each of the victims is expected to fully recover.

The National Weather Service said five people in the United States have been killed by lightning strikes this year.

Lightning can strike up to 10 miles away from a storm. The temperature of a strike can be up to 50,000 degrees.

More people die of lightning in Florida than any other state. Officials said 47 people have been killed by lightning in Florida between 2008 and 2017.

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