VENICE (CBSLA.com) — The LA Fire Department on Thursday released the frantic 911 tapes of witnesses needing help after the fatal lightning strike at Venice Beach last month.
Nick Fagnano, a 20-year-old eager to start USC this fall, died and more than a dozen people were injured.
KCAL9’s Greg Mills reported the calls captured the desperation and fear among beachgoers on July 27.
“We need paramedics!” one woman screamed into the phone.
“Oh, my God,” said another.
Mills said between 2:20 and 2:24 p.m., 911 operators were inundated with calls.
“We need an ambulance,” said another caller.
Witnesses told Mills it wasn’t just the one strike that caused such fear.
“It kind of formed like a Y,” said Denis Staine, who was working that day at a bike rental shop, “so let’s say one beam came down this way, another came down and hit the water.”
He added: “I’ve been here since I’m young, and I’ve never seen anything like that in my life. It was really scary.”
Restaurant patrons felt a shock and bike riders reported feeling a jolt in their handlebars.
Mills said an off-duty lifeguard was injured and hospitalized. That lifeguard is now recovering at home, Mills reported.