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Lightning strike survivor: I was ‘dead on the spot’ before daughter pulled me from water

Posted at 2:24 PM, Aug 29, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-29 14:24:39-04

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — A lifeguard who nearly died after a lightning strike in Venice Beach in July said Thursday that his daughter’s quick actions and the care given by first responders and medical personnel saved his life.

KTLA reports that Robert Kilroy was teaching his 15-year-old daughter how to surf on July 27 when a lightning bolt struck the water, knocking Kilroy unconscious and shocking him.

“I was basically dead on the spot,” he said during the Thursday news conference.

His daughter, Emily Kilroy, was briefly knocked unconscious by the jolt, but was then able to locate her father and pull him out of the water, they said.

“It was even scarier when I woke up under water and I did not know what happened,” she said.

The 56-year-old man’s heart stopped and lifeguards administered CPR for about 10 minutes before an ambulance arrived. He was then taken to the UCLA medical center and discharged four days later.


Robert Kilroy thanked those with CPR training for saving his life, but said his daughter’s actions were what touched his heart.

“Once I learned it was her that started dragging me out of the water, that was probably the first time I went to tears after this whole thing happened,” he said.

Emily Kilroy now plans to learn CPR, and said she was thankful for everyone who helped save her father’s life.

“They kept my dad alive … it’s just the most meaningful thing that’s ever really happened in my life,” she said.

Robert Kilroy encouraged others to get CPR training by visiting the American Red Cross website.

The seasonal Venice Beach lifeguard was one of seven people who were hospitalized after the lightning strike.

Nick Fagnano, a 20-year-old who planned to begin his first semester at the University of Southern California in August, died during the incident.