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Lightning kills construction worker in Wisconsin, injures another

The man was pronounced dead at the scene, the other suffered serious injuries.

A 60-year-old man working at a construction site died after being struck by lightning in western Wisconsin Tuesday. Another man was seriously injured.

The Dunn County Sheriff's Office says it was called to a construction site on 390th Street in Menomonie around 11:11 a.m. on a report of two men who were down after possibly being struck by lightning. 

When officials arrived, they found a 20-year-old man suffering from serious injuries. He was taken to Mayo Eau Claire. 

The 60-year-old man was not breathing and was pronounced dead at the scene. 

The sheriff's office's preliminary investigation found the construction crew was building a pole shed and were working under a partial roof. 

"The two injured employees were on ladders when lightning struck in the area," the sheriff's office said. "Both were knocked off their ladders. The crew had stopped working due to weather and when the weather broke they started to work again. Shortly after starting to work again the lighting struck."

The man who was killed and the man who was injured have not yet been identified. 

The incident remains under investigation. 

According to the National Weather Service, over the 30 years from 1989-2018, the U.S. averaged 43 reported lightning fatalities per year. And over the most recent 10 years (2009-2018), the U.S. averaged 27 lightning fatalities a year. 

Only about 10% of people who are struck by lightning are killed, so 90% of those struck are left with "various degrees of disability," NWS says. 

NWS notes that a lightning strike can result in cardiac arrest at the time of injury, while some victims may die a few days later if they are resuscitated but have suffered irreversible brain damage. 

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