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Question: What happens when lightning strikes water? Do fish die and what happens to people inside metal hulled boats?

Asked by danrumford to Cat, Daz, Holly, Johnson, Pamela on 21 Jun 2011.

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  • Photo: Cat O'ConnorCat O'Connor answered on 21 Jun 2011:

    Hi Dan,

    I’m by no means an expert on this but what I think happens is that if fish are swimming very close to the area where a lightning bolt hits the sea, they probably do get killed. But I think that the energy from the lightning bolt weakens really soon after it hits the water so the majority of the fish will be fine.

    Hum…i’m not sure about what happens to people. I know that lightning will prefer to go through the boat than water and that a number of deaths each year at sea are the result of lightening strike. But i think if you were inside a metal hull, it’ll be the same as if you were in a car, but obviously if the hull is grounded, which i think most are now.

    Do you know what happens if lightening hits a car?

    Cat

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