Man struck by lightning, lives to tell about it

By: Shelby Levins Email
By: Shelby Levins Email

DICKSON, OK -- The National Weather Service calls lightning - the “underrated killer.” Experts say, over the past three decades, lightning has killed an average of 58 people a year, across the United States. But one Texoma man struck by lightning just days ago, is one of the lucky ones. And he says there's a number of reasons why he's alive tonight.

"It's one of those things that never in a million years you thought would have happened,” John Jones said.

Storms clouds overhead have never scared Jones. But after last Friday afternoon, he has a new respect for thunder clouds.

"I heard a huge boom - and it seemed like it was instantaneous - you hear boom, and I was on the ground,” Jones explained.

Jones had been working with his father in their yard in Dickson, when lightening stuck him in the head.

"He said when it hit me - I did a complete flip in the air. I landed on my right shoulder,” Jones said.

You can still see the dead grass in the yard. But the lightening strike didn't cause any permanent damage to Jones - it just singed off almost all the hair on his body.

Health experts say that's not usually the case.

"It causes cardiac arrest most of the time and seizures and usually results in death,” Ralph Falconer, PA-C with Urgent Care of Ardmore, said.

But doctors told Jones he was saved because his heavier build insulated his vital organs and because he was drenched in sweat.

"He said since you were sweating and sweat is primarily electrolytes - the outside of your body was covered in sweat and when you took the hit, the current stayed on the outside of your body and exited the ground through the bottom of your feet,” Jones explained.

But that wasn't the only thing that protected Jones. Doctors say the crocs he was wearing saved his feet.

"He said if you would have had shoes that were tied to your feet - they couldn't have gone anywhere and would have probably blown your toes off,” Jones said.

Jones says every muscle in his body still aches from the direct shock of electricity, But more than the pain, he says he feels lucky to be alive.

Jones says it wasn't raining outside when he was struck, and experts say that's not uncommon.

Experts with the National Weather Service say, lightning can strike as far as 10 miles from the area where it is raining - and that's about the distance you can hear thunder. So they say -- If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance -- and suggest you go inside or seek safe shelter immediately.


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