skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 141739 Find in a Library
Title: Deaths Caused by Lightning
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:38  Issue:2  Dated:(March 1993)  Pages:353-358
Author(s): B D Lifschultz; E R Donoghue
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 6
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Lightning is responsible for more deaths each year in the U.S. than any other type of natural disaster. Injury may be caused by either the electrical energy, high temperature, or explosive force of the strike.
Abstract: This study is based on a review of the five lightning deaths reported in Cook County, Illinois, between 1985 and 1991; these accounted for 0.02 percent of the total number of autopsies performed during that period. All these cases involved young adult or middle-aged males and all occurred in suburban areas. Lightning deaths occurred in the late spring, summer, or early fall, and in the morning or early evening. Four of the victims had been involved in sporting activities; the fifth was working on a roof. Four of the incidents occurred during rain. All the victims suffered cardiac arrest; two died instantly and the others died within eight days. Obvious burns were observed in four cases; none of the cases demonstrated significant blunt force injury. Lightning deaths and injuries can be prevented if people seek shelter during thunderstorms, avoid using the telephone or electrical appliances, avoid standing between two open windows or doors, stay away from water, and put down objects that may act as lightning rods. 20 references
Main Term(s): Autopsy; Lighting
Index Term(s): Accident investigation; Forensic sciences
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.