A YOUNG boy has been rushed to hospital after being struck by lightning on a beach in Australia.
Emergency services were scrambled to the scene at Warilla Beach in Shellharbour, New South Wales, after reports a child had been injured while swimming.
The kid is reported to have suffered an immediate cardiac arrest after being struck at around 5.20pm local time.
He was pulled from the water and paramedics were called to the beach south of Wollongong.
The boy was treated at the scene for burns to his chest before he was taken to a nearby hospital.
He is reported to be in a critical but stable condition.
A witness told 7 NEWS they were taking photographs when they heard a crack of thunder.
“I turned around, I saw the kid and the parents, they were crying and holding the baby,” they said.
They added that the parents then rushed to shore and screamed for help.
The horror incident took place just after officials issued a severe thunderstorm alert for the region, with warnings of giant hail, powerful winds, and torrential rainfall.
In a statement, the Bureau of Meteorology warned: “A warm and humid environment over eastern parts of the state is favourable for thunderstorm activity during the afternoon and evening.
“Severe thunderstorms are likely to produce large, possibly giant hailstones, damaging winds and heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding over the next several hours in parts of the Illawarra district.
“Locations which may be affected include Wollongong, Bulli and Port Kembla.”
The odds of being struck by lightning are less than one in a million.
According to National Geographic, around 2,000 people are killed globally in lightning strikes each year.
However, almost 90 per cent of lightning strike victims survive.