TWO men were killed after they were struck by lightning while foraging shellfish in Sitio Pajara, Barangay Umapad in Mandaue City on Tuesday afternoon, June 22, 2021.
Police identified the victims as Rey Cuyam, 28, a resident of Barangay Umapad; and Erwin Hirasol, 33, a resident of Barangay Mantuyong, Mandaue City.
Glendo Demape, who works for Umapad’s barangay hall, said they and local police responded in the area after they received reports of casualties from a lightning strike that occurred there.
When they got there, barangay personnel and local police found Cuyam and Hirasol already lying just a few meters from the shoreline and had numerous burns on their bodies.
Danilo Cuyam, Rey’s cousin, narrated to police that he, his cousin, Hirasol and two other men proceeded to Sitio Pajara to forage for shellfish when they noticed that the sky began to darkened.
When they noticed that a thunderstorm was upon them, Danilo and their two companions left the water and went to find shelter from the rain while Rey and Hirasol stayed behind to continue foraging.
When the rain ended after 30 minutes, Danilo and his two companions returned to the shore to check on his cousin and Hirasol.
They were in shock when they found the two already lying in the sand.
In a separate interview, Buddy Ybañez, head of Mandaue City’s Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, warned the public about going out to the beaech while there is a thunderstorm.
Ybañez said there is always a chance that lightning could strike a person especially if he or she is on the water.
Following the incident, Ybañez said he plans to coordinate with the city’s coastal barangays to issue warnings to their constituents to avoid swimming on beaches whenever there is a thunderstorm. (KFD / JKV)