Man dies after being struck by lightning on New Jersey golf course

WESTAMPTON TWP., New Jersey (WABC) -- A 70-year-old man died after he was struck by lightning while on a New Jersey golf course on Wednesday afternoon.

Michael Ward, 70, of Florence, was found near the 7th hole of the course at the Burlington Country Club in Westampton Township about 3:50 p.m. and was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said.

At the time of the lightning strike, isolated pop-up thunderstorms were in the area.

According to Westampton Township police, the victim was found under a tree. Detectives believe he was seeking shelter there.

Police also say the tree was struck by the lightning bolt first.

Ward is the first death from a lightning strike in the U.S. this year.

"It was bizarre," said neighbor Norm Jones, who lives right by the golf course.

He says that it didn't really look like a storm was coming through Wednesday afternoon.

"It was sunny," he said. "Thundering and lightning with the sun out."

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Lightning Safety

Here are some tips on how to avoid getting injured from lightning.

We often say when "thunder roars, go indoors," which is so important.

But if you hear thunder, you're already within striking distance, even if those skies are blue because the storms can come in so quickly.

So you need to be careful -- and it's a good time to think about that lightning safety.

Indoors or in a car is the best place to be.

There's nowhere safe to be outside.

One of the worst places to be is under a tree.

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