(CNN) – A 5-year-old boy died Sunday afternoon after being struck by lightning on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, said Chief Ralph Melton of Currituck County Fire and EMS.
His family had been vacationing on Carova Beach when a storm started. They were in the process of taking shelter in the car when the son was struck.
According to the National Weather Service, a ‘vast majority’ of lightning deaths occur while people are on the way to shelter, suggesting people wait too long to decide to move to a safe place once they realize a storm is nearby.
The boy died from traumatic injuries at a hospital despite efforts to resuscitate him, Melton said.
In recent years, 23 to 48 people have died from lightning strikes annually in the United States, according to data from the National Weather Service.
The boy’s death in North Carolina is the 21st lightning death in the United States so far in 2016 — 12 of the deaths have occurred in July.
Two lightning deaths have occurred in Alabama in 2016. 20-year-old Hunter Blankenship was struck and killed in Lawrence County on July 19. 19-year-old Jacob York was struck while doing outdoor maintenance on a building on Redstone Arsenal on July 14.