Jamie Ryan shows his wife, Diane, and son Tyson just how close the lightning came to hitting him.
Jamie Ryan shows his wife, Diane, and son Tyson just how close the lightning came to hitting him.

Bolt from the blue shocks driver

By NERIDA BLOK

JAMIE RYAN had a shocking experience as he drove home during last Friday's night's storm ? his car was struck by a bolt of lightning.

The 28-year-old Casino meatworker escaped unharmed, but his car was not so lucky.

Part of the aerial was blown up, weld-like spots appeared on the roof and a line of scorch marks was left down the car.

Jamie was on his way home from Casino to his wife and children at Tatham when the lighting hit.

Wife Diane said the line of scorch marks could be seen from the rear window sunshade and across the boot, where she believed the lightning left the car.

Speaking for her shaken husband, Diane said Jamie was driving along the Bruxner Highway during the severe electrical storm about 6pm on Friday night when he heard a 'really loud bang'.

"He said he'd never heard anything like it," she said. "He saw a flash of purply pink light. The car stalled when it hit, got stuck in first gear and the radio stopped."

Diane said Jamie continued to drive home to Tatham in first gear, with the dash lights flashing on and off. "It was unimaginable," she said.

"He arrived and ran inside ? he was pretty freaked out. It still hasn't sunk in."

Storm chaser Michael Bath said he was not surprised someone got struck by lightning that evening.

Out on Friday night photographing lightning with fellow storm chasers Dave Ellem and Rodney Wallbridge, Mr Bath said there were a large number of lighting bolts occurring.

"Our car nearly got hit bolts came very close," he said.

Mr Bath said the intense storm started around Casino about 3.30pm, gaining in strength as it moved slowly east.

"It seemed to be at its most intense half-way between Casino and Lismore," he said. "There was strong winds with small hail, 1-1.5 centimetres in diameter."



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