Young Man Drowns at Sea Due to Lightning Strike in Malaysia

  • Feb 11, 2016

A 21-year-old fisherman drowned at sea during the evening hours as he attempted to return his fishing boat to shore on 18 January 2016. He fell into the sea near the Sungai Ayam Lighthouse in Senggarang near Batu Pahat at about 5pm local time after lightning appeared to strike his boat. His body was found the following day by a search-and-rescue team.

While the weather was clear during the morning hours, Earth Networks’ Total Lightning Network detected a flurry of sporadic cloud-to-ground lightning strikes to the west of Malaysia over North Sumatra and Riau. The storm must have caught the young fisherman off guard before he had a chance to make it all the way back to port.

The above video shows that the storm strengthened quickly, sending a battery of dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning strikes across the channel of water in between Riau and Malaysia. Anyone on the waterfront had less than 45 minutes or so to react.

boy being struck strikes

The above image shows the density of yellow cloud-to-ground lightning strikes detected by our Earth Networks Total Lightning Network between 4pm-8pm local time.


This next image shows the cloud-to-ground lightning strike that we believe may have hit the young man’s fishing boat.

While there is much Earth Networks is doing to predict dangerous thunderstorms, (like monitoring in-cloud lightning strikes) sometimes the weather is fickle and quick to change both courses and severity. Minutes matter when it comes to the safety of those who work outdoors for a living and who are therefore at the mercy of Mother Nature. Proper detection and alerting of lightning strikes can protect workers from not only lightning, but monsoons, hail, tornadoes, and downbursts as well.