Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Amazing endurance!

The Cairns Post.

Bronwyn Cummings.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008.

TWO airport workers are lucky to be alive after being struck by lightning as they refuelled a plane at Lockhart River yesterday.

The lightning bolt hit as they stood halfway up a ladder by the plane, surging in through one hand and out the other of both men, travelling through their bodies and vital organs.

One man was left with a blackened, sooty hand. Both workers had pain in their arms and one had some heart pain. But the pair were in good spirits, laughing and able to walk from the Royal Flying Doctor Service plane when they arrived in Cairns for treatment about 7pm.

Duty RFDS doctor Charles Ellis said the men were incredibly lucky to escape without serious injury.

"About 10 per cent of lightning strike victims are killed," Dr Ellis said.

"They must have had luck on their side because there would have been fuel vapour, and they were half way up a ladder.

"They were lucky they weren't killed.

"It's just incredible."

The men, aged in their 50s, were refuelling the plane at the airport about 3.30pm when they were struck during a storm.

They were assessed by medical staff at the town and forced to wait for the lightning and heavy rain to ease off before a doctor could be flown in about 6pm.

The men were recovering in Cairns Base Hospital last night, after refusing to sit in wheelchairs to be taken from the medical plane to a waiting ambulance.

A Lockhart River airport spokesman was unable to comment about the incident last night. The incident will be investigated by Work Place Health and Safety.


Megan from Imaginif said...

Far out! I didn't hear about that. Lucky beggars.
Who said Lightening doesn't strike twice!

Sue Bayliss said...

Yes, indeed. Although, I am wondering what these men are thinking them selves - lucky to survive the strike or dreadfully unlucky to have been in that place at that time!

I am very pleased to read Workplace Health and Safety are investigating the matter. There is a lot of pressure on both pilots and ground staff at our remote Cape 'strips to fuel up, load passengers on and take off asap.

For quite a few years as a Juvenile Justice Officer I flew the Cape in light aircraft attending Children's Court in remote Aboriginal Communities. We had some very frightening experiences - both in the air and on the ground!