A 53-year-old man killed Monday night after he was struck by lightning as he stood in a puddle under a tree has been identified as Michael McGee of Sturgeon Lake, according to the Pine County Sheriff’s Office.
McGee had been visiting a friend he had known since childhood Monday night on Alder Loop in Sturgeon Lake, which is about 50 miles south of Duluth, said Steve Blackwell, chief deputy. About 7:30 p.m., as McGee was leaving for the day, he was standing near his pickup truck in a puddle of water about 30 feet from a tree. Thunderstorms had started rolling through the area about 6 p.m. Monday.
The lightning apparently struck the tree, then ricocheted to the puddle, Blackwell said. “He took a step toward his friend, then collapsed,” Blackwell said. “I think he realized what happened right away, brought him up on the porch and began CPR.”
Law enforcement officers and first responders soon arrived, and McGee was taken by ambulance to Mercy Hospital in Moose Lake, where he died.
It was the first lightning death this year in Minnesota, and the 18th nationwide, according to the National Weather Service. Since 1959, there have been 64 lightning strike deaths in the state.