Florida Construction Workers
July 29, 2003
Three construction workers narrowly
missed being hit with a lightning strike while eating their lunch
under a large tree near Clearwater, Florida.
The sky was clear when the men who
were working on the U.S. 19 and Drew Street overpass, took a lunch
break, and a sudden storm came upon them."The lightning struck,
traveled through the tree and into the ground where they were subjected
to a significant amount of electrical energy," said Lt. Wendy
Cason with Clearwater Fire Rescue. "No one got struck directly.
They all described similar feelings of the jolt, the whoa, the zap."
Fellow construction worker Cayestone
Rodriguez said the jolt came out of nowhere. "They sat by the
tree, and the thunder started and then the Lightning," he said.
One of the men who had been shocked got up and asked a fellow worker
to call 911. When firefighters arrived, they pulled the men inside
ambulance and looked them over.
A direct lightning strike will cause death. But even with an indirect
strike, the men would likely be kept overnight because there is
a chance that their heartbeat could be altered by the electricity,
Florida recorded nine deaths in 2002 caused by lightning. One of
those deaths occurred under a tree, another was on a boat and the
remainder were outside, in the open.
The National Lightning Safety Institute reports that the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published the following data
for the years 1959 - 1994.
27% of lightning strikes occured in
open fields and recreation areas
3% involved heavy equipment and machinery
84% of victims were male
Months of most incidents: June 21%, July 30% and August 22%
Time of day of most incidents: 2 to 6 p.m.
Top five states for lightning deaths: Florida, Michigan, Texas,
New York, Tennessee
Remember- If you can hear it, clear it... If you can see it, flee