Katherine Diaz, one of El Salvador’s top surfers who was hoping to make it to the Tokyo Olympics, died tragically Friday. Her uncle, Beto Diaz, told local media outlets the 22-year-old had just finished a training session at El Tunco when the incident occurred. When Katherine went to greet a friend along the beach, a bolt of lightning killed her. He shared:
“She, the friend, was thrown by the force of the lightening [sic] strike too, the board threw me back. Katherine died instantly.”
While EMTs arrived quickly to help, it was too late, as Katherine passed away on scene. The International Surfing Association released a statement to Facebook on Saturday acknowledging the loss of the competitor who was hoping to compete in the ISA World Surf Games in May. A win there would have qualified her for the Olympics.
The organization wrote:
“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.”
They also noted her impact on the sporting community, sharing:
“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.”
Truly such a sad, shocking loss!! Thinking of her family in this time of mourning.