MAHOPAC, N.Y. - Four people boating on Lake Mahopac on the Fourth of July escaped with their lives after lightning struck the water near their vessel, sending three of them to area hospitals.

Police said that on Wednesday, July 4, at around 3 p.m., the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department Marine Patrol Unit responded to a report of an occupied disabled boat on Lake Mahopac. During heavy rain and frequent lightning strikes, Sgt. Matthew Monroe of the Sheriff’s Department was able to locate the stranded vessel near the northwest corner of the lake. The 20-foot pleasure boat was occupied by two males and two females, ranging in ages from 28 to 41.

One male passenger said his boat, and all its passengers, had been struck by lightning, and that three of them required immediate medical care. Sgt. Monroe requested that Mahopac Fire and Ambulance be dispatched to Mahopac Marine.  With the assistance of Charlie Melchner, owner of Mahopac Marine, Monroe was able to tow in the disabled boat with the passengers still on board. Once the disabled boat reached dock, two EMSTAR paramedics, along with members of the Mahopac Fire Department, boarded the boat and provided medical aid to the injured passengers. 

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Two of the passengers were transported to Putnam Hospital Center, and one was transported to Danbury Hospital in Connecticut. The remaining passenger was evaluated and released at the scene.

Upon further inspection by Monroe and Deputy Christopher Tompkins, it was determined that the lightning strike destroyed most of the electrical equipment on the boat, rendering it disabled.