Girlfriend of man killed by lightning strike on New Jersey beach shares their final conversation

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By stefan armitage

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The partner of a man who died after being struck by lightning has spoken out about their final conversation -- and his heroic last actions.

As previously reported, 58-year-old Patrick Dispoto, was found unconscious on J Street Beach in Seaside Park, New Jersey, at around 7:38PM on Sunday (June 23), as reported by

Officials began CPR on the late man and then rushed him to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead just before 9:00PM, per News 12 New Jersey.

No witnesses directly saw what happened to Dispoto, Seaside Park police disclosed. The beach was closed at the time.


Dispoto's girlfriend, Ruth Fussell, revealed to the outlet that her partner took her to safety inside his truck before returning to the beach to warn a group of children about the thunderstorm. No lifeguards were on duty at the time.

Sharing their final conversation with New 12 New Jersey, Fussel recalled: "He said, ‘I’ll be right back.’ I said, ‘You have no business going back.'

"He says, ‘I’m just going to warn these kids because the sky is going to open. I’m just going to warn these kids, one minute.’ I said, ‘No.'" Dispoto then ventured to the beach in order to warning the children.

GettyImages-151419314.jpgPatrick Dispoto sadly died after being struck by lightning. Credit: Chase Schiefer Photography / Getty

After 15 minutes, Fussell went to check on Dispoto after he failed to answer three of her phone calls. Tragically, she found Dispoto was found face down in the sand.

Although the children had left the beach, a stranger was standing over Dispoto and crying out for help. Police later confirmed to media outlets that Dispoto had been struck by lightning.

After CPR efforts, Dispoto was rushed to a nearby hospital.

"The doctor said 45 minutes after the brain has no oxygen, you have to unplug him. I said, ‘No, you can’t,'" Fussell said.

Dispoto was pronounced dead shortly after.

An subsequent autopsy conducted on Tuesday (June 25) confirmed that Dispoto passed away due to an accidental death caused by lightning.

Now, Fussell says she wants Dispoto to be remembered as a selfless man who was always willing to help those in need.

GettyImages-1124444076.jpgThe average person has a "one-in-600,000 chance of being struck by lightning". Credit: Jure Batagelj / 500px / Getty

According to the National Weather Service, "approximately 1,800 thunderstorms occurring over the Earth,” meaning about 100 lightning flashes each second and nearly 8 million per day.

The report stated that the average person has a "one-in-600,000 chance of being struck by lightning" during their lifetime and that since 1959, "approximately 86 people have died each year across the U.S. due to lightning strikes".

However, most fatal incidents occur when people swim, hike, or play golf.

The tragedy comes as Seaside Park officials were working on upgraded lighting detection systems, per News 12 New Jersey.

“We don’t want to tell people when the storm is here, we want to tell people that the storm is coming so that they can stay ahead of it,” Seaside Park lifeguard captain Jim Rankin told the outlet.

“In the event of a thunderstorm, the beach is a very dangerous place to be. So if you feel things like a wind shift if it’s fluttering back and forth between hot and cold, you see the clouds, you hear little rumbles of thunder — those are signs to get off the beach,” he added.

New Jersey 101.5 chief meteorologist Dan Zarrow added: "By definition, every thunderstorm contains lightning. Therefore, every thunderstorm is potentially dangerous."

"Lightning is always looking for the easiest path from cloud to ground," he continued. "On a wide open beach - with no trees, buildings, or structures around - a person can often be the most effective conductor around."

GettyImages-1751227965.jpgCredit: Philip Thurston / Getty

Zarrow said that if you can "hear thunder" then you are "close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning,” adding one key safety tip: “When thunder roars, head indoors."

Our thoughts continue to go out to Dispoto's loved ones at this time.

Featured image credit:  Philip Thurston / Getty

Girlfriend of man killed by lightning strike on New Jersey beach shares their final conversation

vt-author-image

By stefan armitage

Article saved!Article saved!

The partner of a man who died after being struck by lightning has spoken out about their final conversation -- and his heroic last actions.

As previously reported, 58-year-old Patrick Dispoto, was found unconscious on J Street Beach in Seaside Park, New Jersey, at around 7:38PM on Sunday (June 23), as reported by

Officials began CPR on the late man and then rushed him to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead just before 9:00PM, per News 12 New Jersey.

No witnesses directly saw what happened to Dispoto, Seaside Park police disclosed. The beach was closed at the time.


Dispoto's girlfriend, Ruth Fussell, revealed to the outlet that her partner took her to safety inside his truck before returning to the beach to warn a group of children about the thunderstorm. No lifeguards were on duty at the time.

Sharing their final conversation with New 12 New Jersey, Fussel recalled: "He said, ‘I’ll be right back.’ I said, ‘You have no business going back.'

"He says, ‘I’m just going to warn these kids because the sky is going to open. I’m just going to warn these kids, one minute.’ I said, ‘No.'" Dispoto then ventured to the beach in order to warning the children.

GettyImages-151419314.jpgPatrick Dispoto sadly died after being struck by lightning. Credit: Chase Schiefer Photography / Getty

After 15 minutes, Fussell went to check on Dispoto after he failed to answer three of her phone calls. Tragically, she found Dispoto was found face down in the sand.

Although the children had left the beach, a stranger was standing over Dispoto and crying out for help. Police later confirmed to media outlets that Dispoto had been struck by lightning.

After CPR efforts, Dispoto was rushed to a nearby hospital.

"The doctor said 45 minutes after the brain has no oxygen, you have to unplug him. I said, ‘No, you can’t,'" Fussell said.

Dispoto was pronounced dead shortly after.

An subsequent autopsy conducted on Tuesday (June 25) confirmed that Dispoto passed away due to an accidental death caused by lightning.

Now, Fussell says she wants Dispoto to be remembered as a selfless man who was always willing to help those in need.

GettyImages-1124444076.jpgThe average person has a "one-in-600,000 chance of being struck by lightning". Credit: Jure Batagelj / 500px / Getty

According to the National Weather Service, "approximately 1,800 thunderstorms occurring over the Earth,” meaning about 100 lightning flashes each second and nearly 8 million per day.

The report stated that the average person has a "one-in-600,000 chance of being struck by lightning" during their lifetime and that since 1959, "approximately 86 people have died each year across the U.S. due to lightning strikes".

However, most fatal incidents occur when people swim, hike, or play golf.

The tragedy comes as Seaside Park officials were working on upgraded lighting detection systems, per News 12 New Jersey.

“We don’t want to tell people when the storm is here, we want to tell people that the storm is coming so that they can stay ahead of it,” Seaside Park lifeguard captain Jim Rankin told the outlet.

“In the event of a thunderstorm, the beach is a very dangerous place to be. So if you feel things like a wind shift if it’s fluttering back and forth between hot and cold, you see the clouds, you hear little rumbles of thunder — those are signs to get off the beach,” he added.

New Jersey 101.5 chief meteorologist Dan Zarrow added: "By definition, every thunderstorm contains lightning. Therefore, every thunderstorm is potentially dangerous."

"Lightning is always looking for the easiest path from cloud to ground," he continued. "On a wide open beach - with no trees, buildings, or structures around - a person can often be the most effective conductor around."

GettyImages-1751227965.jpgCredit: Philip Thurston / Getty

Zarrow said that if you can "hear thunder" then you are "close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning,” adding one key safety tip: “When thunder roars, head indoors."

Our thoughts continue to go out to Dispoto's loved ones at this time.

Featured image credit:  Philip Thurston / Getty