Katherine Diaz, a 22-year-old Olympic surfing prospect, died after being struck by lightning while training for an Olympic qualifying event.
The tragic news was reported by Salvadorian news outlet Cancha.
Diaz had recently flown to El Salvador from Mexico to train with her uncle before the tragic accident.
While speaking to Cancha, Diaz’s uncle, Beto, revealed a heartbreaking note about the Olympic hopeful’s death which was witnessed by him and one of her friends.
“Katherine came over to hug her [friend]. As soon as she finished hugging her, the roar was heard,” he told the news outlet.
“She, the friend, was thrown by the force of the lightning, too; the board threw me back. Katherine died instantly.”
The International Surfing Association (ISA) issued a comment on Diaz’s passing.
It is with a heavy heart that the ISA has learned about the passing of El Salvador’s Katherine Diaz. pic.twitter.com/7SQCEHPpu3
— ISA (@ISAsurfing) March 21, 2021
“Katherine embodied the joy and energy that make surfing so special and dear to us all, as a global ambassador of the sport,” the statement read.
“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.”
The ISA is set to host the event Diaz was training for, the 2021 Surf City El Salvador World Surfing Games, at the end of May.