El Salvadoran Olympic surfer Katherine Diaz Hernandez.
Sourced from the Olympic Channel by Tracy Cabrera
EL TUNCO, EL SALVADOR — They say lightning never strikes twice in the same spot but just the same, the first one could be as fatal as the next.
This is the tragic incident that befell El Salvador’s top surfer and Olympic hopeful Katherine Diaz Hernandez, who has died after being struck by lightning while training on the beach near her home in El Tunco.
Diaz, 22, was training just a short distance from her house when a series of electrical storms hit the area. She was struck by the lightning bolt while she was still in the water and onlookers reportedly tried to help her until the paramedics arrived.
According to the Olympic Channel, Diaz could not be revived and died while still on the beach.
Spanish news paper AS reported that according to the Salvadoran Surf Federation, “the sky was clear and it was an unforeseen storm that did not seem to carry much electrical intensity either.”
Diaz, who was also a chef and had recently opened her own restaurant in El Tunco, had been training for an upcoming tournament in El Salvador that is serving as an Olympic qualifier.
The Salvadoran Surf Federation shared the news of her death in a social media post.
“A great athlete who has represented our country has left us. See you soon, great warrior. El Salvador is in mourning,” the post said.
The International Surfing Association also shared a social media post about Diaz, offering condolences to her family:
It is with a heavy heart that the ISA has learned about the passing of El Salvador’s Katherine Diaz.
Katherine embodied the joy and energy that make surfing so special and dear to us all, as a global ambassador of the sport. She excelled at the international competition level, representing her country with pride at both the ISA World Surfing Games and ISA World Junior Surfing Championship.
We send our heartfelt condolences to Katherine’s family, the surfers of El Salvador, and to all those in the international surfing community whose lives she touched.
We will never forget you.