(LOOGOOTEE) - An early Wednesday evening wind and lightning storm has claimed the life of a longtime golf course manager.
Gregg Sims, of the Washington Times-Herald reports, Mike Bird, 72, was discovered by golfers at the Lakeview Golf Club at 9 p.m. under a tree that had fallen, apparently due to a lightning strike.
According to Martin County Sheriff Rob Street, golfers at the course were ending their rounds when they discovered Bird was not at the club's pro shop, located 3 miles north of Loogootee on SR 231.
After searching for Bird, a fallen tree located near the course's equipment building south of the shop and west of the final hole at the executive course was discovered.
Bird's body was then located under the tree along with a golf cart.
"It's a tremendous loss for the entire county," Street said. "Mike and his family had been managing the course for many years and had done a very good job with it. It was tragic. He will be missed."
A thunderstorm went through the Loogootee area at 6 p.m., and it is believed the tree fell by either wind or lightning. Street said he believed a lightning strike was responsible for the fallen tree.
A call to 911 was received by Martin County officials at 9:10 p.m. Street responded to the scene along with members of the Loogootee Fire Department and the Martin County Ambulance Service.
County Coroner Mark Franklin, and Deputy Coroner Mike Strawn pronounced Bird dead at the scene.
Bird and his family had managed the course for nearly 15 years. The course is part of the West Boggs Lake area, but is leased under contract.
"I was on the road when I got the call, and I got there as quickly as I could," Street said. "The fire department and ambulance service was closer, and they were there when I arrived."
The building is located near the southern dam of the large lake. The tree sat in a small growth near the equipment building and course.
"Some of the golfers noticed that Mike wasn't around, and they started trying to find him. They noticed the tree had fallen, and when they got there, they found the cart first," Street said.
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