Hundreds gather for candlelight vigil honoring lifeguard killed by lightning
Hundreds of people gathered on the 21st Avenue beach in Berkeley Township Tuesday evening to honor and mourn a lifeguard who died after he was struck by lightning.
The group held a candlelight vigil in honor of 19-year-old Keith Pinto.
Pinto was on duty Monday afternoon when a bolt of lightning struck his lifeguard stand, killing him.
Pinto was from Toms River and had been a lifeguard in Berkeley Heights for four years.
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“Just a really nice kid. Never had a bad day, I feel like,” says former classmate Gabriella Dellolio. “Always happy.”
Seven other people experienced some effects of the lightning strike, but no other major injuries were reported.
Pinto was sitting on an aluminum lifeguard stand. Township officials say that the lifeguards previously requested these stands because they are lightweight. But there is now concern that the metal stands conducted the lightning. Berkeley Township officials did not comment on this claim.