Bolt jolts teacher
BETHWYN JOHNS feels lucky to be alive after a lightning bolt struck the concrete driveway she was walking on. The Lennox Head woman was one of at least two locals who felt a massive jolt from the lightning in last Monday afternoon's thunderstorm. Surf lifesaver Brett Lewis, featured in Thursday's Northern Star, got an electric shock through his phone, knocking him unconscious. The pair ended up in beds next to each other at Ballina District Hospital. "The white flash, the cracking bang, it was frightening," Ms Johns, a teacher at Ballina's Emmanuel Anglican College said. "I feel so lucky to be alive." According to the Bureau of Meteorology, lightning strikes kill five to 10 people every year. It is the most dangerous and frequently encountered weather hazard people experience. Ms Johns had been monitoring the storm on the Bureau of Meteorology Internet site at work on Monday. She told other staff the storm was coming, and left early to try and escape the hail she expected. "As I drove into my street I saw lightning hit near Lake Ainsworth," she said. "I walked towards the garage and a big bolt hit the driveway and blew me off my feet. "I landed on the concrete, which got small holes in it from the strike." Ms Johns went inside but soon realised something was not right, so she went to her neighbour who is a nurse. She monitored Ms Johns' heart rate and blood pressure, which were so high she called an ambulance. "I was absolutely terrified," Ms Johns said.
Days later, Ms Johns said she was still in shock, had a throbbing headache and her muscles were sore and tense. But her work colleagues were helping her make light of the potentially fatal situation. "They come out with all sorts of jokes, like asking if they can charge their mobile phones on me," she said. "I'm just glad it wasn't any worse, and I hope no one else gets hurt in the storms."