Man struck dead by lightning while trying to get kids off beach ahead of lightning storm

Thursday, June 27, 2024 - A man was fatally struck by lightning on a Jersey Shore beach Sunday, June 23, after he heroically returned to warn a group of children playing in the water of an impending storm.

Patrick Dispoto, 59, had just left the J Street Beach at Seaside Park in Ocean County with his girlfriend, Ruth Fussell, around 7 p.m. when he noticed the ominous clouds quickly approaching, according to News 12 New Jersey.

Dispoto became increasingly concerned for the children’s safety, since the lifeguards had already left for the day.

"He said, ‘I’ll be right back.’ I said, ‘You have no business going back,'"Fussell told the outlet about her final conversation with her boyfriend.

"He says, ‘I’m just going to warn these kids because the sky is going to open. I’m just going to warn these kids, one minute.’ I said, ‘No.'"

The heartbroken girlfriend said Dispoto first got her to safety before he ventured back over to the beach to warn the others.

Fussell returned to the beach after 15 minutes and three unanswered calls to Dispoto.

Dispoto was found face down in the sand with a stranger standing over him, shouting out for help, and the children were nowhere in sight, the outlet reported.

She rushed over to Dispoto and she and the stranger’s wife began CPR on her unconscious boyfriend.

Dispoto was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

"The doctor said 45 minutes after the brain has no oxygen, you have to unplug him. I said, ‘No, you can’t,'" Fussell shared.

Dispoto’s death was caused by a lightning strike, police confirmed to NJ Advance Media.

Fussell said her selfless boyfriend was always willing to help people in need, and she wants him to be remembered for his fearlessness in doing good in the world.

"His last act of heroism was his ultimate, and that’s my Patrick Dispoto," she told the outlet.

Dispoto’s death comes just three years after 19-year-old lifeguard Keith Pinto was fatally struck by lightning while trying to get visitors off White Sands Beach in South Seaside Park.

Four beachgoers were injured when the lightning killed Pinto.

Post a Comment