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‘A good father’ died in lightning strike on July 4 in Georgetown County

Lightning safety tips

Watch a NOAA video about being safe when thunderstorms and lighting approach.
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Watch a NOAA video about being safe when thunderstorms and lighting approach.

Ryan Gamble, 44, was father to two children and had a low-keyed personality.

“He was a very good father,” his cousin, Tim Gamble, wrote in a message to The Sun News.

Gamble was killed in a lightning strike in Georgetown County on the Fourth of July. A dozen of other people were injured in the incident. Georgetown Coroner Chase Ridgeway confirmed on Friday that Gamble, of Andrews, died in the strike.

Tim Gamble said Ryan Gamble worked at International Paper after working at the steel mill in Georgetown. He had two sons, the youngest having just graduated Georgetown High School.

“He was a low-keyed personality that enjoyed raising his two boys,” Tim Gamble wrote.

On Thursday, the National Weather Service reported the strike at 4 North Sampit in Georgetown around 2 p.m, stating 12 people were injured and four were unresponsive.

Lightning is a common occurrence during most thunderstorms, striking about 25 million times a year in the United States. Lightning kills an average of 47 people across the country each year, and hundreds more are severely injured, according to The National Weather Service.

Here are some safety tips to keep in mind when lightning strikes:

  • No place outside is safe when a thunderstorm rolls in. Get inside as soon as possible and take shelter in a safe building or vehicle.

  • If outside during a storm, stay away from isolated trees, towers or utility poles. Also avoid metal conductors, such as wire or fences. While metal doesn’t attract lightning, it can travel long distances through it.

  • The National Weather Services advises a large group of people spread out when lightning occurs. While it may increase the chances that someone might get struck, it tends to prevent multiple casualties, and increases the chances that someone could help if a person is struck.

  • If someone is struck, call 911 immediately and, if trained, begin giving first aid by performing CPR or using an automatic external defibrillator if one is available.

  • If possible, move the victim to a safer place because lightning can strike twice.

  • While only about 10 percent of lightning victims die, with cardiac arrest the immediate cause of death, according to the NWS, lightning leaves many victims with permanent disabilities, with survivors suffering from intense pain neurological disabilities, depression and other health problems.

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Alex Lang is the True Crime reporter for The Sun News covering the legal system and how crime impacts local residents. He says letting residents know if they are safe is a vital role of a newspaper. Alex has covered crime in Detroit, Iowa, New York City, West Virginia and now Horry County.
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