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Police identify 19-year-old lifeguard killed by lightning at Jersey Shore

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 7:22 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 31, 2021 at 8:42 AM CDT
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BERKELEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — Friends and fellow lifeguards sat on a Jersey Shore beach and sobbed Tuesday at the spot where a 19-year-old lifeguard was killed by lightning a day earlier.

Keith Pinto of Toms River was among eight people who were hit by lightning Monday afternoon in Berkeley Township. Three of those struck were also lifeguards at the beach.

The seven others were taken to local hospitals with injuries that were not considered life-threatening.

Mourners hugged each other and cried as flowers piled up at the base of the lifeguard stand where Pinto was killed. Several said it felt unreal that the friend they recently graduated high school with, or worked with on the beach was suddenly gone.

The strike happened after 4:30 p.m. Monday at the 21st Avenue beach, near the entrance gates to Island Beach State Park.

It marked the second death of a young lifeguard at the Jersey Shore in a little over a week.

Earlier this month, a 16-year-old lifeguard in Cape May was killed when the boat he was rowing was hit by a wave and flipped over.

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