Lucky streak: Mother and son both survive lightning strikes
Published Thursday, June 1, 2017 8:49AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 1, 2017 2:40PM EDT
A Vancouver Island man who was struck by lightning during a thunderstorm may have good luck in his genes. Not only did he manage to survive the shock, but he has since learned that his own mother was struck by lightning as a child.
Sean Ramsay’s jolting experience occurred on Tuesday morning as he was working at the Fort Victoria RV Park. A thunderstorm moved into the area – a rare event on the south part of Vancouver Island, but one that Ramsay barely took notice of.
As he filled up an RV with propane, a bolt of lightning struck a tree about three metres away, sending electricity down into the ground underneath Ramsay’s feet.
Ramsay remembers feeling a shock and then agonizing pain coursing through his body before dropping to the ground, but he doesn’t recall much else.
“I didn’t actually see the lightning and I didn’t hear the thunder, but someone across from the trailer park here saw it hit the tree and saw me go down,” he told CTV Vancouver.
Though the details of the event are hazy, Ramsay definitely remembers the pain the lightning caused.
“It kind of felt like someone had put 1,000 pounds of weight on every part of my body at the same time. My muscles were fully contracted and I couldn’t move for a few seconds,” he said.
Across the road, firefighters at the View Royal fire hall felt the force of the thunder.
“We saw a bright light all of a sudden and our building shook. We thought a bomb went off,” says Acting Fire Chief Rob Marshall.
Moments later, they got a call of an electric shock at the RV park. They rushed over and found Ramsay on the ground.
“This is the first time in my career we’ve been paged out for electrocution caused by lightning,” said Marshall. “Extremely rare. It’s rare to get lightning in Victoria -- let alone for someone to get hit by lightning.”
Somehow though, in spite of Ramsay’s pain, he was able to remember that he was still pumping propane into the RV and moved over to shut the valve off
“I was concerned because that’s some of my safety training,” Ramsay said.
Marshall says those actions likely prevented what could have been a horrible explosion.
“We were kind of in awe when we showed up. Even though he had been struck by lightning, the amount of pain that he was in, he still had the wherewithal to shut the truck down, shut the nozzle down, disconnect it from the RV,” he said.
Ramsay was transported to hospital and checked over by emergency room doctors who say he’s first person they’ve treated for a lightning strike in a decade.
Since his brush with death, Ramsay has learned from his mother that she too was jolted by lightning, when she was a child
For now, though Ramsay is still sore, he’s expected to make a full recovery, fully aware of how fortunate he is.
“I know I’m a lucky guy. Normally, I’m lucky that I live in Victoria and it’s so beautiful. Now, I’m lucky that I’m alive.”
With a report from CTV Vancouver Island’s Rob Buffam