Olympic surfing hopeful killed by lightning strike during training session
El Salvador surfing star Katherine Diaz, who was getting ready to make her Olympic debut in Tokyo this summer, tragically passed away after being struck by lightning during a training session.
The 22-year-old was training for an upcoming qualifying event in El Tunco when she was hit by lightning after entering the water.
Emergency services tried to revive her on the beach, but their attempts were in vain.
According to Spanish newspaper AS, the sudden change of weather caught the surfer by surprise and didn’t seem to be dangerous at first, as “the sky was clear and the unforeseen storm that did not seem to carry much electrical intensity either.”
It is with a heavy heart that the ISA has learned about the passing of El Salvador’s Katherine Diaz. pic.twitter.com/7SQCEHPpu3— ISA (@ISAsurfing) March 21, 2021
Diaz represented her country at international surfing events and was hoping to make the team for the Tokyo Games, where surfing will be on the Olympic program for the first time.
The International Surfing Association expressed its condolences, saying, “Katherine embodied the joy and energy that make surfing so special and dear to us all, as a global ambassador of the sport.”
#Deportes | Último adiós a la surfista salvadoreña que falleció, al ser fulminada por rayo, en playa El TuncoEl presidente del @indeselsalvador, @ybukele ha lamentado el deceso de la seleccionada salvadoreña de Surf, Katherine Díaz.https://t.co/lM8IOYlS7Lpic.twitter.com/rC5aCHJzjY— Diario La Gaceta (@DiarioLaGaceta) March 21, 2021
Diaz was buried on Sunday in her home country, with local media sharing a picture of her surfboard next to her coffin, along with flowers and photos.