Teen lifeguard killed by lightning strike on New Jersey beach identified; 7 others hurt

A young lifeguard was killed and seven other people, including three other lifeguards, were injured when lightning struck a Jersey Shore beach Monday afternoon, authorities said.

Tuesday morning, Berkeley Township Police identified Keith Pinto, 19, as the lifeguard who had died as a result of his injuries. 

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

Ocean County Sheriff Michael Mastronardy said seven others were taken to hospitals with injuries that were not considered life-threatening.

"Our hearts are with the family and friends of the young lifeguard killed by today’s horrific lightning strike on the beach in Berkeley Township, and we pray for a full recovery for those injured," Murphy, the state’s Democratic governor, wrote on Twitter. "I’ve spoken to Mayor Carmen Amato and offered the full support and assistance of our administration during this difficult time."


Amato said his township’s beaches will be closed Tuesday through Thursday as crisis counselors are made available to beach staff and lifeguards.

The mayor said eight people in total were struck by lightning, including Pinto. Four of those struck were lifeguards and four others were beachgoers. The other seven victims were treated for their injuries at nearby hospitals. 

"This is a tragic and heartbreaking day for our town and the entire Jersey Shore," Amato said in a statement. "This young person was out there every day protecting the lives of others. Our lifeguard teams, like so many along the shore, develop special connections with our community throughout the summer, which makes this loss even greater.

"On behalf of myself and our entire community, I offer our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of this young man," he said.

Police were called at 4:35 p.m. ET to a beach on 21st Avenue in Berkeley Township, near the entrance to Island Beach State Park.

On Aug. 20, 16-year-old lifeguard Norman Inferrera III died a day after an accident in Cape May. A lifeboat he was rowing was struck by a wave and flipped over, knocking him unconscious, authorities said.

And on Aug. 12, 13-year-old Carlos Ramos died after he was struck by lightning at Orchard Beach in the Bronx in New York City.

Ramos was one of a group of people gathered at the beach who were struck by lightning during a fast-moving storm. Six others also were injured in that lightning strike.



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