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GA Man Survives Lightning Strike That Blew His Boots Off

Sean O'Connor of metro Atlanta survived a lightning strike out of a clear sky Saturday. The blast blew him out of his boots and disrupted his heart rhythm.

Sean O'Connor survived a lightning strike out of a clear sky Saturday. The blast blew him out of his boots. Credit: Screenshot from WGCL TV
Sean O'Connor survived a lightning strike out of a clear sky Saturday. The blast blew him out of his boots. Credit: Screenshot from WGCL TV

The sun was out, not a hint of a summer thunderstorm around Saturday when Sean O’Connor went out to do some yard work.

But a crash that blew his boots off and across the driveway, where they lay smoldering, made him realize he’d just been hit by lightning.

"Just as I picked up the rake, I heard a loud crashing sound," O'Connor told WGCL TV. "A few moments later I was picking myself up off the ground. I had the taste of blood in my mouth. I noticed my leg was burning a little bit."

O'Connor was home alone. So, it took him a bit to realize what had just happened.

"My leg hairs were singed. I could smell the burnt hair," the metro Atlanta man told WGCL. "I looked across the driveway and I could see my boots over there. They were no longer on my feet, and one of them was smoking'. At that point I realized I had just been hit by lightning."

O’Connor’s wife raced home and took him to a hospital, where he said he received lots of funny looks in the emergency room. 

A lightning strike disrupts the body’s electrical system. An EKG showed that O’Connor’s heart rate was dropping down to 40 beats per minute, so he stayed overnight in the hospital, says WSB TV.

O’Connor said his right foot is fine, but the left side of his body is in pain.

Cardiac arrest and irregularities, burns, and nerve damage are common in cases where people are struck by lightning, according to the National Geographic website

Doctors told O’Connor about 1 in 700,000 people are hit by lightning. And because he was hit once, doctors told him it is more likely that O’Connor will be struck by lightning again.

“Out of all the lightning victims, she’s seen the majority of them end up getting struck more than once," O’Connor told WSB.

Most lightning strikes occur during the summer, says National Geographic. If you can hear thunder, you are within 10 miles of a storm—and can be struck by lightning. Seek shelter and avoid situations in which you may be vulnerable.

John Doe June 24, 2014 at 03:10 AM
Only the Irish could have survived that
OnceWasAnnie June 24, 2014 at 12:57 PM
Really! Glad I'm one half Irish!
Debbie Carroll Hill June 24, 2014 at 02:07 PM
wow good to know about the possibility of being hit if you "hear thunder"....eek! And i have heard before that if you get hit once, your chances are good it will happen again! scary! :) be safe ya'll
StarThrower50 June 26, 2014 at 11:45 AM
That last paragraph is all great advice, but it doesn't do a lick of good when the lightning comes out of a clear sky and without warning like it did for this man. He's very lucky to have survived the stroke. If they are correct that most people who are struck once wind up being struck more than once, then he might not be so lucky on a subsequent strike. Maybe he should just stay inside from now on (or at least wear rubber sole shoes??)

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