Lightning injures spectators at U.S. golf tournament

Ben Domensino, 27 August 2019

Video footage captured the moment lightning struck a tree near spectators at the FedEx Cup golf tournament in Atlanta on the weekend.

Six people were reportedly injured when a cloud-to-ground lightning strike hit a tree at the East Lake Golf Club on Saturday afternoon. Skip to the 40 second mark in the video below to see the moment the strike occurred.

According to lightning detection company Earth Networks, the ground strike occurred nearly half an hour after PGA tournament organisers had suspended play due to weather concerns. While the players and most spectators heeded the warning, some people were still on the course when the lightning strike occurred.

Earth Networks detected more than 1,500 lightning pulses within a 16 kilometre radius of the East Lake Golf Club between 4pm and 5pm local time on Saturday.

Video: Anomation of the lightning pulses detected by Earth Networks near the East Lake Golf Club on Saturday afternoon.

The first in-cloud lightning strike near the golf course was detected at 4:14pm, four minutes before PGA officials delayed play. The cloud-to-ground strike that caused injuries to several spectators was detected nearly half an hour later at 4:45pm, near the course's 16th hole.

While in-cloud lightning strikes don't pose a direct threat to people and infrastructure on the ground, they are one of the most reliable indicators that cloud-to-ground strikes are about to occur.

Five people were taken to hospital and one was treated at the scene after Saturday's lightning strike, according to a PGA press release. All have since been released from hospital.