Skip to comments.Lightning zeros in on teenager's tunes
Posted on 07/09/2006 9:45:41 AM PDT by Drew68
Castle Rock - Jason Bunch was listening to Metallica on his iPod while mowing the lawn outside his Castle Rock home Sunday afternoon when lightning hit him.
The last thing the 17-year-old remembers was that a storm was coming from the north and he had only about 15 minutes before he should go inside.
Next thing he knew, he was in his bed, bleeding from his ears and vomiting. He was barefoot and had taken off his burned T-shirt and gym shorts. He doesn't know how he got back in the house.
Bunch immediately called his mother, who was in Illinois visiting family.
"Mom, I think I was hit by lightning," he said.
Kelly Risheill told her son to call 911, and she started the 14-hour drive home.
About the same time, a neighbor saw Bunch's scorched green and white Reebok tennis shoes in the street, a few feet away from the lawn mower. She also called for help.
Bunch was taken to Sky Ridge Medical Center and placed in intensive care. He was sent home Tuesday.
"I'm alive, and that is what I am grateful for," Bunch said as he lay in bed Wednesday.
From the hospital, Bunch called a friend and told him he wasn't able to go bowling. Then, he called a girl he was supposed to meet for a date.
"I said, 'I did not stand you up. I was struck by lightning."'
Bunch's ears were burned on the inside, and he's lost some hearing, mostly on the right side. His hair was singed.
His face, chest, hands and right leg have freckle-size welts on them as if buckshot had come from inside his body out.
The wounds follow the line of his iPod, from his ears down his right side to his hip, where he was carrying the device. The iPod has a hole in the back, and the earbuds dissolved into green threads.
Bunch and his mother believe the iPod acted as an antenna, drawing the lightning to him. There were tall pine trees nearby that didn't get hit.
But lightning and weather experts say that's probably not the case.
"There is no scientific evidence to show that lightning is 'attracted' to items like an iPod. However, if someone wearing earbuds is struck, current may travel along the wires into the ears," said Gregory Stewart of the Denver-based Lightning Reference Center. "There are documented cases of lightning traveling through wired telephones and killing the users. "
Objects such as loose change in victims' pockets have left first- and second-degree burns after a lightning strike, Stewart said.
Doctors have told Bunch his hearing might come back if the nerves inside were not damaged. For now, he can't stand up because he gets dizzy and his equilibrium is off.
Bunch's mother recalled the death of a motorcyclist who was hit by lightning on U.S. 36 last month and expressed relief that her son's life was spared.
"It's a miracle," she said. "He should not have lived through it."
This is just too rich! I wonder if he was listening to this classic Metallica album:
Metallica. What better music to get struck by lightning while listening to! Anyways, glad he's OK and now he'll have a great story to tell. Maybe he'll get a call from the band.
A good friend of mine in high school was struck by lighting while she was playing softball during summer break. She was killed instantly.
This boy is very lucky to be alive, and I hope he gets his hearing back soon.
Sad to hear that. To be honest, lightning freaks me out. I've lived in Colorado almost my whole life and now I live in North Florida. Both places lightning storms can come out of nowhere real quickly. I get indoors fast where I can enjoy the light show and booms from safety.
Man! I've told some whoppers, but this tops them all.
Yes, that's definitely an excuse he won't be able to use a second time. Hope he milks it for all it is worth!
Mother Nature doesn't like acid rock either.
Lightning scares the heck out of me. Lightning kills more people per year than any other weather phenomena.
When It starts storming around here I always unplug the computer from it's electrical and cable connection.
I used to go to Cocoa Beach to visit the parents in laws and Florida has some really good and scary lightning storms.
Then it is a good thing he wasn't listening to Iron Butterfly. He might not have lived to tell his tale.
Seriously, "acid rock" does not, um, accurately describe Metallica.
The Metalica might have saved him.
My son used to listen to Metallica with all the screeching. If I were Mother Nature, I would have struck a long time ago.
Lightning kills more people per year than any other weather phenomena.
Sorry, that would be flooding. Most of the deaths attibuted to flooding are from people driving into high water.
Considering the path the current flow could have taken, he's lucky to have a brain left
Whatever you say about Metallica, all their greed and talent turned into an equal volume of dynamite isn't fit to be used to blow Ozzie's nose.
I live in Ocala and have heard it called the lightning capital of the world. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but man I've never lived in a place where electrical storms are the given, and not the exception like it is here.
You are assuming he had a brain, are you not?
Listening to metal head music tends to make one wonder if he had any brains left.
And back on thread, can you imagine how uncomfortable burned ears must be, ick.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.