Woman in critical condition after being struck by lightning on Dorchester beach


The 31-year-old Dorchester woman was walking her dog when lightning struck the Savin Hill Beach boardwalk.

A tree is scarred by lightning at Savin Hill Beach in Dorchester where a woman was struck on Sept. 9, 2023. Craig Walker/The Boston Globe

A woman is in critical condition after being struck by lightning on a Dorchester beach Saturday afternoon, according to State Police.

The 31-year-old Dorchester woman was walking her dog along the Savin Hill Beach boardwalk when she stopped to speak to another woman, police said in a press release. While they were speaking, a lightning bolt struck the area where they were standing, throwing both of them into the air.

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The victim landed on the beach and became unresponsive, police said. The other woman was thrown by the blast, but wasn’t hit by the lightning itself.

People nearby called 911 and provided medical aid, police said. One of those people was Tracy Cronin, a Boston Children’s Hospital nurse who lives near the beach, The Boston Globe reported.

Cronin told the newspaper she looked out her window after hearing loud thunder and saw the woman lying on the beach. The woman’s pants were shredded by the lightning strike, she said.

Onlookers moved the woman into a neighbor’s home to get her out of the storm, Cronin told the Globe. Then Cronin and her boyfriend, who is also a nurse, took turns doing CPR until paramedics arrived and used a defibrillator, the newspaper reported.

“They got a pulse back, but she wasn’t awake,” Cronin said. “I just pray that she’s OK.”

Paramedics and State Police responded to the scene at 3:35 p.m. and took the woman to Boston Medical Center, police said. She was in critical condition as of Saturday evening. The other woman told first responders she would seek medical help on her own. 

The lightning strike splintered a nearby tree and left a line running down the trunk.

Bruce, the victim’s dog, ran off after the lightning strike and was initially reported missing. But State Police confirmed Sunday morning that he had been found.

Lightning was also a menace for college football players and fans Saturday afternoon. With just under two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, lightning struck near Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill as Boston College faced College of the Holy Cross.

The strike caused fans to run for shelter, but players stayed on the field, leading to a victory for Boston College.

Saturday’s storm also knocked out power for tens of thousands of Massachusetts residents.