Bethune was with family on Tigertail Beach on July 17 when he was struck by lightning that afternoon

Bethune was with family on Tigertail Beach on July 17 when he was struck by lightning that afternoon
A Georgia teen died Wednesday afternoon, 11 days after he was struck by lightning on a Florida Beach.

The teen was one of five people struck by lightning on beaches in southwest Florida over a 10-day span in July, the Naples Daily News reported.

Walker Bethune, 17, was just a few feet away from his family on Tigertail Beach, where they were vacationing on July 17, when he was struck, according to Marco Island police.

'Please know that today's update comes with heavy hearts for ALL of us that LOVE Walker,' his family reported on social media Wednesday evening.

'He passed away peacefully this afternoon, listening to one of his favorite Allman Brothers songs, appropriately named, "Soulshine."'


Police said they arrived on the scene at 3.51pm, shortly after the lightning strike, and saw Bethune's father, David, administering CPR on his son, who was unresponsive.

They were able to successfully revive him on the scene.

He was rushed to a local hospital in nearby Naples and then airlifted to another hospital in Miami.

On Monday, however, friend Julie Chandler reported that Bethune's brain had begun to swell.

'Please continue in BIG BOLD FIERCE prayer for Walker's brain and swelling. The goal was to keep him very calm and stable today, which was accomplished,' she wrote.

Bethune was a senior at the Stratford Academy in Macon Georgia, the school reported on Facebook.

'Tonight we received the heartbreaking news that Walker Bethune passed away from his injuries sustained during his tragic accident,' the school wrote. 'You have fervently prayed for Walker and his family over the last 11 days and we ask that you do not stop. Walker was loved by all within our school family and we lift up his family and friends during this unbearably difficult time.'

He was one of the five people who have been struck by lightning on beaches in southwest Florida over a 10-day span in July, the Naples Daily News reported.

On Monday, a 12-year-old Girl and 38-year-old man were struck on a beach in North Naples, and are in stable condition, according to the outlet.

Additionally, a married couple visiting from South Carolina were struck on Saturday in Sanibel.

Their church identified the two as Brent and Kristen Jerome. Brent remains in critical condition.

Bethune's will be the fourth lightning fatality in the United States in 2021, according to the National Weather Service, and the second to have taken place on a beach.

It is also likely the first to have taken place in Florida this year, although the agency has not updated its tally since July 20.

On June 12, a 15-year-old girl visiting with her family from Alabama was killed by lightning while swimming in the waters off of Tybee Island, Georgia.

She was hit around 2.30pm that Saturday, and rushed to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.

On average there are 49 people killed by lightning in the US each year.

In 2020, 17 people were killed.

A lightning warning was declared on Marco Island at 2.15pm the day Bethune was struck, Bob Dugan chief executive officer and president of Thor Guard, a lighting warning system in southwest Florida, told the Naples Daily News reported.

The warning ended at 4.03pm, a little more than 10 minutes after police and EMS arrived on the scene.

'That was the last strike from the storm,' Dugan said.