FALLSBURG — A Sunday afternoon lightning strike seriously injured a [Jewish] New Jersey woman stranded in a rowboat on Morningside Lake, as well as her would-be rescuer.
The 22-year-old woman, whom Fallsburg police would not identify, was one of four people stuck on the boat about 20 yards from shore around 3:45 p.m., as a storm roared through the town park that contains the lake, bringing heavy rain, thunder and lightning.
As park employees called all boats to shore, lifeguard Kristen Sarno said one employee, Devin Corbett, 23, climbed into a rowboat and paddled out to the stranded boaters.
He had just moved the woman to his boat when, lifeguard Joe Drobysh said, “we saw the lightning hit the water.”
Corbett and the woman were thrown into the lake. Lifeguards jumped in and dragged them to shore, along with the other stranded boaters.
Once ashore, lifeguards worked feverishly to revive the two.
“Devin was breathing a little bit, but the girl wasn’t really breathing,” Drobysh said. “The most I’ve ever had to do in six years of lifeguarding is put a Band-Aid on someone.”
Their pulses were restored by the time firefighters and ambulances arrived.
Both Corbett and the woman were taken to Catskill Regional Medical Center, and were eventually transferred to Westchester Medical Center.
Hurleyville fire Chief Jim Kaufman said Corbett, who is also a Loch Sheldrake firefighter, was alert Sunday evening, but was having trouble seeing.
The woman’s condition was not known. The other boaters with her were taken to Catskill Regional Medical Center for observation.