CLEARWATER — Clearwater Fire and Rescue report that one person was critically injured after being struck by lightning and seven others were affected about 12:30 p.m. July 21 at Clearwater Beach.

Clearwater Fire and Rescue say four persons were taken to Morton Plant Hospital. One of the four is a man in his 40s, who was hit directly and went into cardiac arrest. He is reportedly in critical condition. A second patient was taken to Tampa General Hospital with burns. Three others refused transport.

Police say the individuals were in the beach area behind Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill, 7 Rockaway St., Clearwater, when lightning struck.

Clearwater Beach lifeguards left their towers about 12:30 p.m. due to the weather conditions. The 911 call about the injuries came in about 12:42 p.m.

Beachgoers are reminded that they should take cover and go to a safe place when thunder and lightning are present.