What to Know
- A 31-year-old man was in critical condition after lightning struck a tree above him and his friend in Newark, Delaware.
- The two men were outside grilling at the time when the storm suddenly moved in.
- The victim's 37-year-old friend also suffered injuries to his chest and leg. He's in serious condition.
A man is fighting for his life while his friend is recovering after lightning struck a tree above them while they were grilling outside in Newark, Delaware.
The two men, ages 31 and 37, were outside on a grill on the 100 block of Medley Drive around 4:15 p.m. Thursday. John Pelletier, the neighbor of the 37-year-old man's mother, told NBC10 skies were clear before a thunderstorm suddenly moved in.
“It was totally clear,” Pelletier said. “A clear day then that first lightning strike came.”
Lightning struck a tree above the two men and the impact knocked them to the ground.
“It sounded like a huge explosion,” Pelletier said. “I thought my propane tank exploded in the backyard. And there was a big flash of light.”
Pelletier ran outside and saw the two men on the ground. He tried to give them CPR but medics quickly arrived.
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The 31-year-old man went into cardiac arrest, officials said. Medics managed to restart his heart and he was transported to Christiana Hospital in critical condition.
“He actually coded and they brought him back,” Pelletier said. “On the way to the hospital they said he was actually breathing so we were all praying they both were in good shape.”
The 37-year-old man suffered injuries to his chest and leg. He was also taken to Christiana Hospital in serious condition.
The incident occurred as severe storms moved into Delaware. More than 4,000 lightning strikes were reported in the area on Thursday between 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., according to NBC10 meteorologist Steve Sosna.
"This type of lightning frequency and intensity doesn't happen often in this part of the country," Sosna wrote. "Today's storms in Delaware were exceptionally electrified."