Wants to Raise Awareness for Lightning Safety

Man Survives Weekend Lightning Strike

by Wes Mayer wesley@newnan.com


Sean O'Connor holds the leather boot he was wearing when he was struck by lightning Saturday. The lightning burned through the leather of the boot, hitting the titanium at the toe before entering O'Connor's body and throwing him across the yard.

A Newnan man is lucky to be alive after he was directly struck by lightning over the weekend.

Around 2 p.m. Saturday, Sean O’Connor was at his home on Brittain Way doing some yard work when he said he heard a loud crash. The next thing he knew, he was lying on the other side of his driveway with blood in his mouth, a painful headache and he was no longer wearing his boots.

“I didn’t feel the sensation of being shocked or being thrown,” O’Connor said. “All the pain was in my head. The only thing I could compare it to was being hit by a tree.”

O’Connor said he then saw his two leather boots on the ground over where he was standing a few minutes before, and one boot was actually smoldering and smoking. He then looked up, saw a storm was rolling in and finally realized he was actually struck by lightning.

“I had no idea you could be stuck by a storm that was so far off, you didn’t even know it was there,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor said he actually drove himself to the hospital – after his wife forced him to go, and he ended up staying overnight. In the hospital, doctors found his heart rate had slowed to 40 beats per minute; they also found he had low potassium and he was continuously given fluids for 24 hours to help prevent kidney failure. O’Connor was released the next day, and except for muscle spasms in his back he is otherwise in good health.

Now, O’Connor hopes his story will help raise awareness for the dangers of lightning and the safety precautions everyone should take to avoid being struck. Ironically, June 22-28 is the National Weather Service’s Lightning Safety Awareness Week.

For more on O’Connor’s story and safety tips to avoid lightning strikes, look in Wednesday’s print and digital editions of The Newnan Times-Herald.

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