There’s a reason Florida is called the lightning capital of the world and on Wednesday afternoon, three people learned that the hard way.
The fatal strike happened at 2:10 p.m., according to the Broward Sheriff's Office. Maria Francisco Pascual, 53, of Lake Worth, was working in the fields at C.W. Hendrix Farms when she was hit by lightning. Deputies say a man and woman working nearby also sustained lightning-related injuries.
Coral Springs Parkland Fire Rescue transported the man to Broward Health North with serious injuries, the sheriff's office said. The injured woman showed up at JFK Medical Center with non life-threatening injuries. Detectives are temporarily withholding their names.
Floyd Patterson, a West Palm Beach resident who survived a similar attack, now has a warning for others who don’t think twice when it comes to lightning.
The news of what happened sent shivers down his spine.
“My immediate thoughts were, oh my God,” Patterson said. “This could have been me.”
The father of six was working at a construction site on a stormy day in September 2015 in Hobe Sound when he too was struck by lightning.
“Luckily, I lived to tell the tale about what happened to me and I’m grateful for that,” he said. “And I could just reverse what happened to me and think about it in my mind that this is what this person went through today,”
Hendrix Farms is in the western remote part of Parkland and is not the place to be in a storm.
“It shook the whole store. We had people running for cover into our store,” said Ron Daratany, the owner of a nearby ice cream shop. “It’s terrible, it’s terrible, but it’s not surprising, given what we’ve seen as far as the lightning.”
Since Patterson has lived through it, he’s often times at a loss for words.
“It, It, it -- sorry, just thinking about it,” Patterson said as tears came to his eyes.
With his survival and now Wednesday’s incident, Patterson has a warning to others.
“Whenever there’s rain, raining or thundering, try to stay safe because this is no no joke,” he said.
Only 1 in 10 people who are struck by lightning survive.
So how did Patterson do it?
He told us he had a meeting with his maker and he owes his life to God.
Anyone with information on what happened at Hendrix Farms is asked to call Homicide Detective Jeffrey Curtis at 954-321-4231. Anonymous tips can also be provided to Broward Crime Stoppers by calling 954-493-TIPS (8477) or submit a tip online.