How did Olympic hopeful Katherine Diaz die? El Salvador’s top surfer, 22, killed by lightning in freak accident
The late surfer was prepping for the ISA World Surf Games that would have seen her compete for a qualifying spot in the Tokyo Olympics
Olympic hopeful surfer, Katherine Diaz died on Friday (March 19) near her home in El Tunco. The 22-year-old died after she was struck by lightning reports said. According to AS, the Spanish newspaper, residents were caught unaware by the change of weather, They said: "The sky was clear and it was an unforeseen storm that did not seem to carry much electrical intensity either."
Although emergency services rushed to the scene and attempted to revive Diaz, she passed away on the beach. The news of her death saw tributes flowing on social media.
How did Katherine Diaz die?
Diaz died shortly after she entered the water to begin her training session. She was struck by lightning. The late surfer was prepping for the ISA World Surf Games in El Salvador this May that would have seen her compete for a qualifying spot in the Tokyo Olympics. The International Surfing Association released a statement on Facebook soon after her the news of her death.
"It is with a heavy heart that the ISA has learned about the passing of El Salvador’s Katherine Diaz," it read. "Katherine embodied the joy and energy that make surfing so special and dear to us all, as a global ambassador of the sport. She excelled at the international competition level, representing her country with pride at both the ISA World Surfing Games and ISA World Junior Surfing Championship."
It added: "We send our heartfelt condolences to Katherine’s family, the surfers of El Salvador, and to all those in the international surfing community whose lives she touched. We will never forget you." Among the tributes was also one by the Central American Art that tweeted: "So sad to share the news of Salvadoran surfer, Katherine Diaz’s passing. She was one of El Salvador’s most popular surf athletes with large recognition for popularising women’s surfing in El Salvador."
"Her surfing legacy started when she was a child in her home in La Libertad, where she would compete in local surf competitions and started gaining recognition by winning competitions and later becoming the first woman in El Salvador’s national surf team to go on to represent."
According to Unilad, El Salvador’s tourism minister Morena Valdez also expressed his condolences: "You will always be present in the surfing history of #ElSalvador. Your waves will always remember you in this paradise. Rest in peace Katherine Diaz." Her brother, Jose Diaz, posted a message on Instagram which read: "We will always carry you in our hearts. God decided to take you now. We already miss you. Love forever, little sister."
Surfing was one of the sports that would be introduced at this year's summer games in Tokyo.