Elderly Man Dies After Lightning Strike at New Jersey Field

Police have not confirmed yet if this man was hurt by lightning or from damage caused by the lightning strike

By Gus Rosendale and Brian Thompson
|  Friday, Sep 7, 2012  |  Updated 10:37 PM EDT
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1 Man Dead After NJ Lightning Strike

Gus Rosendale


An elderly New Jersey man has died after being struck by lightning outside a New Jersey high school, authorities said.

The 71-year-old grandfather from Haworth was struck at the Demarest campus of Northern Valley High School while watching his grandson, a freshman soccer player, prepare for a game against Pascack Valley.

He was pronounced dead at 8:45 p.m at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack.

Demarest Police Chief James Powderly, who was at the school, said he saw repeated lightning strikes.

"We heard an explosion, so loud, we didn't think it was lightning," he told NBC 4 New York.

Police say the storm swept in without much warning, and the lightning started while the skies were still sunny.

"We saw multiple lightning strikes in the area," Demarest police chief James Powderley said.

Investigators say the victim was also hit by parts of a tree that blew apart during the strike and were examining tree debris.

Powderly praised the school's staff for quickly herding some 150 students outside on the field to safety in the school's gym.

"Everyone was in a panic." student Caroline McGuire said. "Everyone is shaken up. I feel sad for the family."

Additional counseling will be offered in the gym at the Demarest campus Saturday morning at 9 a.m.

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