Brazilian surfer Luzimara Souza, 23, has died after lightning struck the water where she was training in Fortaleza, also injuring a 17-year-old surfer who remains in a serious condition.
Luzimara Souza was training at Leste-Oeste beach in Fortaleza on Wednesday when the tragedy unfolded.
She was rescued from the water and rushed to the nearby Doctor Jose Frota Institute Hospital, but doctors were unable to resuscitate her, according to Brazilian news outlet globo.com.
Luzimara Souza’s mother, Mara, confirmed the tragedy, saying: “She had a habit of surfing there, so she went surfing and then it started to rain.
“Everyone was at sea, there were six people. The man who rescued my daughter is also in the hospital.”
Luzimara began surfing at age 10, and won the Ceara state championship in 2018. She was said to be preparing for the 2019 Brazilian national championship at the time of her death.
The Brazilian Surfing Federation paid tribute to Luzimara Souza on its Facebook page, sharing a picture of her in a victory pose and passing on its condolences to her family.
Lightning strikes pose a significant threat to surfers, with the voltage carrying horizontally across the water, meaning the danger is extended to people floating or swimming on or near the surface.
Surfers are advised to closely monitor weather conditions and react quickly to any developing threat.