Sunday, August 25, 2019

A pine tree is stripped of bark after being struck by lightning on the course at East Lake Golf Club yesterday. Photo: AP Photo/John Amis.

An Irish man has been hospitalised after lightning struck a 60-foot pine tree at a PGA Tour event in the US.

Six people were injured after the area was showered with debris when the strike hit the top of the tree and shattered the bark all the way to the bottom.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has said it is aware of the case and is providing consular assistance.

The third round of the season-ending PGA Tour event in Atlanta had been suspended for about 30 minutes yesterday because of storms in the area, and fans were instructed to seek shelter.

Atlanta Police spokesman James H White III said five men, including the injured Irish man, and one young girl had sought shelter beneath a tree. Lightning struck the tree and all six were injured.

He said they were taken to hospitals for further treatment, all of them alert, conscious and breathing.

Ambulances streamed into the private East Lake Golf Club about six miles east of Atlanta, where 30 players are competing for the FedEx Cup.

The players already had been taken into the clubhouse before lightning hit, and before long East Lake was hit with a ground-shaking clap of thunder.

One witness described “a big explosion and then an aftershock so strong you could feel the wind from it”.

“It was just a flash out of the corner of the eye. It was raining and everyone was huddled near the tree,” he said.

Additional reporting by PA

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