Nickerie.Net, zondag 09 juli 2006
Jason Bunch, 17, rests at home in Castle Rock on Wednesday after being released from the hospital. He was struck by lightning Sunday while mowing the lawn. The current may have traveled through the headphone wires of his iPod, burning his ears, cheeks and side. (Post / Helen H. Richardson)
De zeventienjarige Jason was getroffen door de bliksem. Hoe hij van het gazon in zijn bed was beland, kan hij zich niet herinneren. Bunch belde 911 en werd naar de intensive care gebracht. Zijn oren zijn aan de binnenkant verbrand en met name aan zijn rechteroor is Bunch gedeeltelijk doof. Zijn haar is verschroeid en de wonden op zijn lichaam laten precies zien hoe het snoer van zijn iPod liep: van zijn oren naar zijn rechterheup, waar hij de mp3-speler droeg. Zijn iPod heeft zijn beste tijd gehad: er zit aan de achterkant een gat in het apparaatje en van de oordopjes zijn alleen groene draden over.
Inmiddels is de tiener weer thuis. Zijn moeder en hij zijn ervan overtuigd dat de iPod als een soort antenne gefungeerd heeft, ook omdat omringende hogere bomen niet door de bliksem geraakt werden.
Weerexperts denken niet dat een iPod als bliksemgeleider dient en zeggen dat daar ook geen wetenschappelijk bewijs voor is. Jason ligt nog wel op bed; hij heeft last van evenwichtsproblemen.
Bunch and his mother believe the iPod acted as an antenna, drawing the lightning to him. There were tall pine trees nearby that didn't get hit. But lightning and weather experts say that's probably not the case. "There is no scientific evidence to show that lightning is 'attracted' to items like an iPod. However, if someone wearing earbuds is struck, current may travel along the wires into the ears," said Gregory Stewart of the Denver-based Lightning Reference Center. "There are documented cases of lightning traveling through wired telephones and killing the users. "
Objects such as loose change in victims' pockets have left first- and second-degree burns after a lightning strike, Stewart said.
Doctors have told Bunch his hearing might come back if the nerves inside were not damaged. For now, he can't stand up because he gets dizzy and his equilibrium is off.
Bunch's mother recalled the death of a motorcyclist who was hit by lightning on U.S. 36 last month and expressed relief that her son's life was spared.
"It's a miracle," she said. "He should not have lived through it."
Castle Rock - Jason Bunch was listening to Metallica on his iPod while mowing the lawn outside his Castle Rock home Sunday afternoon when lightning hit him.
The last thing the 17-year-old remembers was that a storm was coming from the north and he had only about 15 minutes before he should go inside.
Next thing he knew, he was in his bed, bleeding from his ears and vomiting. He was barefoot and had taken off his burned T-shirt and gym shorts. He doesn't know how he got back in the house.
Bunch immediately called his mother, who was in Illinois visiting family.
|Kelly Risheill holds up the shirt her son was wearing when he was hit by lightning. Jason Bunch does not remember how he got from the front yard into the house. He came to in his bed, bleeding from the ears and vomiting. He had stripped off his burned clothes, and his shoes were still in the street. No one else was at home. (Post / Helen H. Richardson)|
"Mom, I think I was hit by lightning," he said.
Kelly Risheill told her son to call 911, and she started the 14-hour drive home.
About the same time, a neighbor saw Bunch's scorched green and white Reebok tennis shoes in the street, a few feet away from the lawn mower. She also called for help.
Bunch was taken to Sky Ridge Medical Center and placed in intensive care. He was sent home Tuesday.
"I'm alive, and that is what I am grateful for," Bunch said as he lay in bed Wednesday.
From the hospital, Bunch called a friend and told him he wasn't able to go bowling. Then, he called a girl he was supposed to meet for a date.
"I said, 'I did not stand you up. I was struck by lightning."'
Bunch's ears were burned on the inside, and he's lost some hearing, mostly on the right side. His hair was singed.
His face, chest, hands and right leg have freckle-size welts on them as if buckshot had come from inside his body out.
The wounds follow the line of his iPod, from his ears down his right side to his hip, where he was carrying the device. The iPod has a hole in the back, and the earbuds dissolved into green threads.
Denver Post / Nickerie.net
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