A young boy is in a critical but stable condition after his heart stopped when he was struck by lightning at Barrack Point on Australia Day.
Emergency services responded to calls that the boy had been injured while swimming in Warilla South Beach at Barrack Point, near Shellharbour, about 5.20pm.
NSW Ambulance chief inspector Terry Morrow said the boy was believed to be in the water at the time of the strike, which caused his heart to go into cardiac arrest and his breathing to stop.
"This is quite a rare but very serious incident with the child going into cardiac arrest following the lightning strike," Insp Morrow said.
Six Shellharbour Council lifeguards attended the scene initially, with Inspt Morrow adding they played a "cruicial" role in the boy's resuscitation.
They were all located at Warilla South Beach and were close to the incident, allowing them to react quickly, with the help of a doctor who was on the beach with her family at the time.
Paramedics and the critical care medical team also treated him for burns to his chest, according to a NSW Ambulance spokesperson.
A Toll rescue helicopter was on the scene, but the boy was taken to Westmead Children's Hospital via road under a police escort.
The helicopter was dispatched from Albion Park with a doctor and intensive care paramedic who assisted in stabilising the boy.
The boy was unable to be transferred to hospital by helicopter due to the ongoing electrical storm, Insp Morrow added.
He remained in hospital in a critical but stable condition on Friday, with injuries consistent with a lightning strike.
The rare "freak" incident occurred shortly after a storm cell lashed the region, prompting a warning from Insp Morrow.
"While this is a rare and unfortunate incident, it is a reminder that when there are electrical storms in the area you should avoid being in bodies of water and that indoors is the safest place to be," he said.
A severe weather warning for hail and heavy rainfall was issued by the Bureau of Meteorology about 5pm on Thursday.
- With AAP.
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