Who Was Luzimara Souza? Surfer Killed in Lightning Strike During Training

A champion surfer has died in Brazil after lightning struck the water close to where she was training.

On Wednesday, Luzimara Souza was surfing at the Leste-Oeste beach in Fortaleza, the state capital of Ceará in the northeast of Brazil.

As she was surfing, the weather quickly worsened and lightning zapped the water in which she was training.

Two men reportedly rushed into the sea to help the 23-year-old. She was unconscious when pulled from the water, alongside an unnamed 17-year-old, who is said to be a friend.

The duo were rushed to the Hospital Instituto Doutor José Frota in Fortaleza's Bairro Centro, but Souza died shortly afterward.

Meanwhile, the teenager who was in the water with Souza at the time of the incident is understood to be in a serious condition and remains under observation.

"She usually surfed there, so she went there to surf and then it started raining," Souza's mother told reporters.

"Everyone was in the sea, there were six people. The man who went to rescue my daughter is here in the hospital."

Gerardo Junior, one of the men who helped rescue the surfers from the water, told Globo.com that he arrived in the water shortly after Souza was hit.

"It's unfortunate this fatality occurred," he said.

"I arrived in the moment that she was hit by lightning."

Junior added that after Souza's rescue he realized another surfer was drowning after being zapped by the lightning.

"I went into the sea to get him out and dragged him out towards the ambulances and the fire brigade. I left him with them and he was conscious by then."

According to Rio de Janeiro-based newspaper O Dia, Souza had taken up surfing at the age of 10 and was part of the Associação Esportiva Cultural Praia do Mero.

Coach Jehovah Rodrigues said on Wednesday she was training for this year's Brazilian surfing championships. The competition will hold one of its stages in Ceará, the state where Fortaleza is located, on April 6 and April 7.

Last year, Souza won the state and national championship. So far this year she had finished as runner-up in one of the stages of the Brazilian championship.

Lightning is a relatively common phenomenon in Ceará. As reported by Fortaleza-based newspaper Diario do Nordeste, data from the Atmospheric Electricity Group of the National Institute for Space Research shows the state has been hit by around 15,000 cloud-to-ground lightning between December 21, 2018, and March 18 this year.

[File photo] A surfer rides a wave at Trois Bassins, on the Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, on February 25. Richard Bouhet/AFP/Getty Images