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Lightning strike kills Brandon woman in Belleair Beach

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Published:   |   Updated: May 29, 2013 at 08:35 AM

A 51-year-old Brandon woman was struck by lightning and killed Tuesday as she strolled along the shoreline in Belleair Beach, Pinellas County sheriff's deputies said.

The victim was identified as Phyllis Kalinowski, of 712 Camrose Drive.

Deputies said Kalinowski and a friend, Dawn Ryskoskis, were on a sightseeing trip to Belleair Beach.

Sheriff's Sgt. Dave DiSano said the two were taking a walk on the beach near a condominium complex and Morgan Park.

There were no witnesses to the strike, he said, but "people heard the strikes."

He said a heavy thunderstorm blanketed the area around 6 p.m.

The two women had just separated prior to the storm and Ryskoskis returned to where she had last seen Kalinowski and saw her friend lying on the beach near the shoreline.

Paramedics were called, but Kalinowski died at the scene, DiSano said.

The National Weather Service in Ruskin reported a storm passing over that stretch of beach between 5 and 6 p.m.

"It was thunderstorm; there was nothing extraordinary about it," said Paul Close, a meteorologist with the weather service. "There was a bunch of lightning and it was heading west. It went across the Bay and Pinellas County and into the Gulf."

According to the weather service, Tuesday's fatality on Belleair Beach evening was the first recorded in Florida so far this year. The service said four people have been killed by lightning strikes in the United States so far this year.

Twenty-eight people in 17 states were killed by lightning last year, five in Florida, statistics show.

kmorelli@tampatrib.com
(813) 259-7760


kmorelli@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7760

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