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Lightning strikes two boats off coast of Wareham

Two boats struck by lightning in Wareham
Two boats struck by lightning in Wareham 02:20

EAST WAREHAM (CBS) –  Lightning struck not one, but two boats off the coast of Wareham just before 7 p.m.

Firefighters were already on the scene at Onset Bay on Tuesday when they witnessed the second strike of lightning with their own eyes. "Very odd for us to be actually on scene and be here when it happens," said Fire Chief Jeffrey Osswald.

The Onset Fire Department responded for a report of fuel leaking from a sailboat in the Bay, which they believe was caused by an initial strike of lightning during the heat storm Tuesday night. Once they were on scene, they witnessed lightning strike again – this time, hitting an antenna on "Miss Chris," a local fishing vessel. 

"It was just like a big huge boom," said Jenna Cook, a witness who saw the lightning. Witness Ella Pierce happened to be filming at the time and caught the strike on her cell phone.

Nobody was on board either boat at the time, but Miss Chris owner Christopher Whitton was called to the scene shortly after the strike, which blew up two large batteries in his boat's engine.

"I've got a lot of work to do," he told WBZ. "We've got to figure out exactly what happened. I mean, batteries don't just explode."

Miss Chris typically carries 40 passengers and takes them fishing 7 days per week.

The statistical chances of a boat being struck by lightning are about one in one thousand, according to BoatUS, and despite the rarity of two strikes in one night, Whitton has a good attitude about the situation.

"What are you going to do?" he said. "I've been doing this for 25 years. I've seen a lot of stuff. I've had a lot of other stuff worse than this happen."

Miss Chris will stay docked until at least next Tuesday as he figures out what broke and how to fix it.

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