Malden, MA – We’ve all gotten shocking phone calls in our lifetimes, but probably not nearly as literal as the one Chris Plowman recently suffered. A lightning strike during a phone call nearly fried the poor guy.
Late Wednesday night, Plowman stepped outside to answer a phone call. He picked it up, heard a loud noise and lost his sight.
“The phone just blew right out of my hand and I couldn’t see anything for 30 seconds,” he said. “I just heard this ungodly noise and I said, ‘what the hell happened?'”
Plowman recalled he couldn’t feel his hands or see anything. He started to sweat profusely, and had what he called “the worst headache ever.”
He went to Massachusetts General Hospital where doctors said that his EKG showed an irregular heartbeat. He was released on Thursday morning.
Doctors told him the obvious: He had been struck by lightning.
“The doctor said I’m very lucky to be alive,” Plowman said.
Plowman’s front yard still has a burn mark in it from where he believes the lightning bolt actually struck. It was mere feet from where he stood.
“If I would have stepped out another foot or two, I wouldn’t be talking to you,” he said.
Next time he gets a phone call during a storm, Plowman joked he’d head for the basement.
Though getting hit by a bolt of lightning sounds like a death sentence, the odds of surviving a hit are actually pretty good. We couldn’t find any solid numbers because there’s a difference between being struck directly and being struck by proximity, which is what seems to have happened to Plowman. There are also health conditions and several other variables to consider.
Still, the odds of surviving a lightning strike are a lot better than the odds of ever being struck in the first place. The odds of being struck are about 576,000 to 1. To put that in perspective, your odds of winning the lottery (we’re talking the Mega Millions) are over 135,000,000 to one. So, I’d be on the lookout for lightning strikes if you’re the gambling sort.
Are you surprised Chris Plowman’s lightning strike phone call didn’t kill him?
[Image via: Giordano Aita, Shutterstock]