Annapolis man on jet ski was electrocuted during storm

Lightning strike came in Sunday storm, police say

July 28, 2010|By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun

The 63-year-old Annapolis man killed on his jet ski during Sunday's severe thunderstorm was electrocuted by a nearby lightning strike, police said Wednesday.

Maryland Natural Resources Police released the preliminary cause of death for Warren Douglas Smith, and said a final autopsy is scheduled for next month.

The accident occurred about half mile south of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge during the storm. Police said Smith, who was riding a jet ski prior to the accident, was caught in the storm.

Police believe he was not struck directly by lightning but was electrocuted by a nearby strike. Elmer Sappington, 65 of Severn, who was about 75 to 100 feet away from Smith, also on a jet ski, was not harmed by the lightning.

Natural Resources Police warn boaters that lightning can strike over 10 miles away from heavy rain and storms. They advise boaters to check the forecast before going out, and say that anyone caught on the water during a thunderstorm should to move to land and seek shelter immediately.

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