FREDERICTON, New Brunswick (AP) – A 14-year-old girl from Maine died Sunday after being hit by lightning during a youth soccer game.

Sarah Elizabeth McLain, of Springfield, was hit without warning on a field near Nashwaakis High School in Fredericton, the Bangor Daily News reported.

The lightning struck McLain directly, said Marion Edwards, her great-grandmother, who added that emergency medical workers on the field tried to revive the girl.

Twenty-one other girls were taken to Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton as a precaution, according to the Fredericton Daily Gleaner.

A 16-year-old linesman was also taken to the hospital.

but was not seriously injured, the Canadian newspaper reported.

McLain was playing for a team from the Lee area in eastern Penobscot County. The lightning struck at 2:55 p.m. in the second half of an annual tournament’s championship game.

Doug Coffin of the Fredericton District Soccer Association told the Daily Gleaner it is up to the on-field officials to decide if playing conditions are too dangerous, but that didn’t appear to be the case Sunday afternoon.

Ron LeBlanc, a New Brunswick resident whose daughter was playing on an adjacent field, called the lightning strike “a freak of nature.”

“It was just thunder and lightning at the same time with no warning whatsoever,” LeBlanc told the Daily Gleaner. “It was just like ‘boom,’ instantaneous. It felt like a bomb.”

The lightning strike came from an isolated thunderstorm, which is typical with warm temperatures and a bit of humidity in the air, Roch Rivard, a spokesman for Environment Canada, told the Daily Gleaner.

McLain was going to be an eighth-grader at Mt. Jefferson Junior High School this fall. Kathy McAvoy, the school’s principal, said grief counseling would likely available on Monday.



On the Net:

Bangor Daily News: http://www.bangornews.com

AP-ES-07-20-03 2156EDT



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