150 tubing along Cape Fear River as lightning storm hits; rescue crews deployed to help

Local News

LILLINGTON, N.C. (WNCN) — About 150 people tubing along the Cape Fear River were hit by a severe thunderstorm and decided to get out of the river with rescue crews standing by near Lillington Saturday afternoon.

The incident was reported after dozens — about 150 people — started tubing in the river in Lillington, according to fire officials.

Around 3:30 p.m. as lightning strikes fired up during a severe thunderstorm, many of those in the river wanted to get out.

By 4 p.m. dozens of lightning strikes were reported in the Lillington area — out of about 230 in a small region around Raleigh, according to weather forecasters.

Several fire-rescue teams responded and set up at the North Carolina Wildlife boat ramp at Wildlife Road to help those tubing, according to Gary McDaniel, assistant chief of Summerville Bunnlevel Fire Rescue.

Some of those tubing along the river had been drinking alcoholic beverages, McDaniel said.

No one was injured, but one man said he was possibly hit by lightning. However, the man did not appear to have any medical issues, according to McDaniel.

The last of the tubers got out of the river around 5:40 p.m.

McDaniel said no rescue boats were used and that everyone exited on their own.

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