What was a beautiful day at the Jersey Shore Saturday turned into a deadly night after a lightning bolt struck and killed a New York woman, who was walking on top of a sea wall at Monmouth County Beach in Sea Bright, near Sunset Lane.

"There were a lot of lovely families here having a great day. We came back to start a barbecue, and these dark clouds came swiftly," recounted Penny Johnson, a Monmouth Beach resident, who was with her family on the same stretch of beach.

Ryan Vasser, 20, of Long Island, was also on the beach and said, "[The storm] got closer, so we went inside because there were bad lightning strikes everywhere." Johnson added, "everybody was scurrying as the sky lit up and it looked like fireworks."

The Johnsons have seen their fair share of fast-moving storms and knew to take cover immediately. She says she watched other beach-goers try to do the same.

Police say, at 7:40 p.m., Indira Tursunova, 48, of Rockland County, was walking with her husband and son along the sea wall that stands 12 feet above ground -- arguably the highest point in the area -- when, according to police, a lightning bolt surged from the sky straight down and struck her.

Johnson rushed to the scene, fearful something had happened to a neighbor. "They [emergency responders] were taking her down the staircase, and I saw coloring in her face. I saw soot on her head and dark coloring of her eyes." Johnson recognized the woman as part of a family, who sat near them on the beach.

Her husband, Bill, even talked to the woman, who asked about their kayak. "She had broken English, and I barely understood her, but [she] was very nice. I gave her info on the kayak and just enjoyed the day," Bill Johnson said.

Police rushed Tursunova to the hospital; she died nearly 12 hours later. "It was heart-wrenching to see her," added Penny Johnson.

The Johnsons say they hope Tursunova's family and friends will find solace in the fact that her last day was a beautiful one. "They were laughing and having a great time," said Mrs. Johnson fighting back tears, adding, "it is just unfortunate it ended the way it did."

A Monmouth County police officer actually saw the deadly lightning bolt while on patrol. He told PIX11 he was the first on the scene -- even before the call came into 911. He hoped his immediate response would help save her, but she succumbed to her injuries early Sunday morning.

Edited By Michelle Robinson