22-year-old Katherine Diaz, an Olympic surfer from El Salvador, lost her life on Friday, March 19. This happened while she was training near her home in El Tunco. She was struck by lightning.
First responders arrived at the scene and tried to revive her to no avail. She passed away on the beach.
The Spanish newspaper AS reported that the residents were caught off guard by the sudden change in the weather. It explained:
“The sky was clear and it was an unforeseen storm that did not seem to carry much electrical intensity either.”
The Guardian reported that Diaz was training to compete in the ISA World Surf Games in El Salvador, scheduled to take place in May. She would have fought for a qualifying spot in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics had she been alive.
Condolences From Various Organizations
The International Surfing Association in a post on Twitter expressed their condolence saying:
“It is with a heavy heart that the ISA has learned about the passing of El Salvador’s Katherine Diaz. 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.”
In conclusion, they 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.”
Also in a post on social media, the Salvadoran Surf Federation wrote:
“A great athlete who has represented our country has left us. See you soon, great warrior. El Salvador is in mourning.”
Central American Art said in a tweet:
Morena Valdez, the tourism minister of El Salvador also paid tribute in writing:
“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.”