Golfers at Rolling Hills Golf Club in Whitchurch-Stouffville, Ontario had quite a scare this week during a lightening storm, when four men on the 18th hole were hit by lightening.
Many golfers had already sought refuge in the clubhouse, but others were still outside on the 18th hole attempting to get their golf clubs out of the rain. As the storm quickly approached, those inside said they heard a loud bang and knew the lightening strike was very close.
Chris Burden, an ICU nurse, was in the clubhouse when the storm hit the golf course. He told GlobalNews that all of a sudden the room was “overwhelmed” by thunder and he knew someone was hit. He rushed outside to see a 60-year-old man laying face down about 50 yards from the 18th hole. Fortunately for the man, Burden acted quickly.
Burden describes the frightening scene:
“His body was burned, his face, his hands, everything we could see was burned. He was purple, he was ashen at the time. His eyes had rolled back into the back of his head and it was just purely instincts to start CPR.”
Several witnesses to the incident thought the man was dead. According to one witness named Peter Epstein, not only was the man badly burned, but his clothes were also completely melted. “He wasn’t breathing and he didn’t have a pulse, and he wasn’t conscious. He was dead,” Epstein explained.
Luckily, Burden was not alone to help revive the man. Burden’s brother, who also happened to be a police officer, was by his side to help. Burden initially did two minutes of CPR while they waited for an ambulance to arrive. After his two minutes, his brother took over. Just as they were about to switch, another loud clap of thunder and lightening came down from above. The pair thought they would be hit, but just as the officer began his chest compression series, the man began to breathe again.
“His eyes started to open, he started to move his hard and started to move his arms,” Burden said. “I started looking at my brother as if to say, I think we got him, I think we got him back.”
The brothers remained with the man until paramedics made it to the scene. After the man was whisked away, the two went back into the clubhouse to enjoy a much earned soda and burger.
The two said they were just doing their jobs:
“My brother’s a cop, I’m a nurse, we’re public servants. We do our job for others, we don’t do it for ourselves. We work to make other people better and safer and we’ve done that for years and years now. So the hero thing, it’s a title. I just did what I knew I could do in that situation. Luckily what I did, it helped save this guy. I hope what I did has given him a chance at another 30 years of life. I hope.”
As for the other golfers, Epstein told The National Post, one man was on his knees, clearly disoriented, while another was also taken to the hospital. Four golfers in total were injured in the incident.
Unfortunately, golf course accidents are not that uncommon. In 2012, Senator Marco Rubio’s daughter was airlifted to the hospital after a golf cart accident.
Golfers should remain vigilant of the weather and follow all warnings posted on the course. If the alarm sounds for golfers to exit the course, as with the case in Toronto, everyone should immediately make their way to the clubhouse to avoid a potentially fatal golf course lightening strike.