Man Struck By Lightning in Attempt to Warn Others of Storm

While attempting to alert other beachgoers about an impending storm, a man was hit by lightning on a beach in New Jersey, according to police.

According to Police Sgt. Andrew Casole, Patrick Dispoto (59), and his girlfriend left Seaside Park Beach for their vehicle on June 19th as they became aware of the impending storm. His girlfriend said she remained in the car while Dispoto returned to the shore to sound the alarm about an impending storm.

He explained that the sky was about to open up, and he needed to warn the kids. His girlfriend, Ruth Fussell, advised Him against it.

According to Fussell, Dispoto did not reply to Fussell’s three attempts to reach him, so she waited about fifteen minutes for him to return her calls. At last, she returned to the shore and saw Dispoto motionless.

Dispoto was transferred to a hospital after emergency personnel performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on him; subsequently, authorities claimed, he was declared dead. According to Casole, Dispoto’s death was a result of a lightning strike.

The one thing Fussell wishes people to know about Dispoto is that he never turned down a chance to help someone.

Seaside Park set up a lightning detector a few days after Dispoto was killed.

According to Karen Kroon, the borough administrator of Seaside Park, authorities spent approximately $50,000 in April to acquire the Strike Guard lightning detection system.  The technology can detect lightning strikes anywhere from 20 miles away or closer by tracking both cloud-to-ground and cloud-to-cloud lightning strikes, as stated on the company’s website.

According to Kroon, the Borough invested in public safety systems because it wanted to take all necessary precautions to warn locals and tourists of impending danger. 

This is the third lightning-related fatality in the US this year and the first in New Jersey since a lifeguard was hit and died on the beach at South Seaside Park in 2021, per the National Lightning Safety Council. Sixteen people have been killed on New Jersey beaches as a result of lightning strikes since 2006.