Woman Dies After Being Struck By Lightning While Walking Her Dogs

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Los Angeles -- A woman was struck by lightning while walking her two dogs in Los Angeles as thunderstorms hit Southern California.

Paramedics arrived at the scene to find Antonia Mendoza Chavez, 52, and her dogs had died from injuries caused by the lightning.

Chavez was walking her two dogs in Pico Rivera when the lightning struck Wednesday morning. The woman and the pets were found lying on a pathway at around 8:50 a.m.

Officials believe Chavez and the dogs died instantly when they were hit by the bolt, the New York Post reported.

"It was reported to the City by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department that a woman walking her two dogs along the San Gabriel Flood Control District was struck and killed by an apparent lightning strike. The woman and her dogs perished as a result of the lightning strike,” read an official statement released by the City of Pico Rivera, according to CBS News.

“While lightning strikes are rare in Southern California, they occurred frequently overnight with over 3,700 lightning strikes recorded in the region,” the statement added.

Gloria Colocho, who said she was the victim's landlord, told ABC7 that Chavez would walk every day down the same path where she was found.

"I called her and I texted her and she didn't answer, and the message was not delivered to the cell phone," Colocho told the outlet. "I called her and it went straight to voicemail, and from there, I had this feeling that it was her. I checked my camera ... she left around 7:30 a.m. and I see her with her two dogs, and she left the house and she hasn't come back at all."

Residents in the area were shocked to hear of the woman’s death.

"I'm scared," one resident Mary Perez told the outlet. "I told my granddaughter and her friend, she's not walking to school, I'm taking her. I think more about the lightning. Not that I never thought about it. I didn't think it could really do that. It's just awful."

Chavez’s neighbor Jason Cisneros told CBS News, “It could happen to anybody.”

"Somebody lost a mom and a sister," Cisneros added. "That can't be a good feeling."

Colocho, who was also Chavez’s friend for two years, said the victim was planning to take a trip to visit her two daughters, one of whom lives in San Diego and the other in Mexico.

"Not too long ago she just mentioned... 'I'm saving money to go see her,'" Colocho added. "That moment never came."

Around 40 million lightning strikes hit the ground every year in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The chance of being struck by lightning is less than one in a million in a given year. Moreover, nearly 90% of victims survive after being struck.


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Photo: Credit: Pixabay / neja5

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