Teen struck by lightning talks to Channel 3 about experience
By Matt Barbour, Weekend Anchor/Reporter - bio | email
CHATTOOGA COUNTY, GA (WRCB) -
Being struck by lightning is more common than you might think. It happens a couple times every day and kills on average more than 50 Americans a year.
It happened to two people in the same Northwest Georgia town Monday.
It was some scary moments for a 14-year-old girl and a middle-aged man in Chattooga County. As storms rolled through Monday afternoon, both were struck by lightning. The 14-year-old girl says she is thankful to be alive.
"I saw sparks and I heard a loud boom. But that was it," says Madison Smith.
Smith was sitting on the couch when lightning struck a security light on the outside of her apartment complex, running through the walls.
"It hit me in the shoulder and then my left rear end," she says.
"There's like a little pin point, then little stems where the lightning hit her," says Madison's mom, pointing to her shoulder.
The strike hit Madison's left shoulder then exited the left side of her bottom.
"I had the worst case scenario going through my mind," says Brandy Prince, Madison's mom.
She says it was scary seeing her daughter whisked away in an ambulance.
"She was unresponsive. Her eyes were awake but she really wasn't talkative. She was not responding to anything that the paramedics were saying to her," says Prince.
"I feel really lucky," says Madison.
A few miles away in Summerville, a 35-year-old man was struck by lightning around the same time, as he left a business on Highway 27.
"I can relate to it. It hurts," says Cecily Whitt.
Whitt works nearby and saw the emergency responders arrive. She says she was struck by lightning about four years ago.
"I was walking down the street, had a metal belt on and it hit me. It went right through me and I hit the ground," says Whitt.
The National Weather Service says there are many myths with lightning, like if you do not see clouds overhead, you are safe. But the truth is, lightning can strike as far as three miles away, sometimes even farther. Another myth is you are 100 percent safe inside. That is true, as long as you are not touching something that can carry the electricity, like corded phones or computers. In Madison's case, she was near wiring in the wall.
"I honestly, truly thought that the good Lord above was fixing to take my child. And I just prayed that my baby was okay. And thank God she is," says Prince.
"I'm glad to be here today. I am," says Madison.
Another common misconception is that people are "charged" after being hit and it is unsafe to touch them. That is not true. You can render aid right away.
Both Madison and the other man are expected to be ok.
For more information on myths and facts surrounding lightning, click here.