A lightning bolt struck two Georgia teenagers Tuesday night, killing one and injuring the other, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.
Ceyora Taylor, 15, and Eric Terrell West, 14, were walking home in McDonough, Ga. when a lightning bolt knocked them to the ground. Taylor regained consciousness at the scene, but West, who lives two houses down from Taylor, died.
Taylor, who is still recovering in the hospital, lost muscle control instantly. Her body was like a “limp noodle,” Reginald Marine, Taylor’s adoptive father, said. West was in cardiac arrest when the Henry County Fire Department arrived at the scene. The emergency crew brought both teens to Henry County Medical Center, where West was pronounced dead.
“When she first arrived, they were mostly concerned with muscle atrophy, neurological damage and organ damage,” Marine said. "[West] was actually walking her home in the rain. They ran under a tree and used it like an umbrella. He was holding onto the tree, so the roots carried the electric current to the ground."
Taylor was later transferred to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. Doctors at Egleston are monitoring her hydration, but she is primarily suffering from a few burn spots on her body.
Marine waited to tell Taylor about the death of West, who neighbors nicknamed Terrell, or Tyrone.
"He was a loving kid, very mindful," West’s father, Brandin, said. "You only had to ask him to do something once and he'd do it."
According to the Georgia Department of Community Health, there were 50 emergency room visits and nine hospitalizations for lightning-related incidents in 2007, including three deaths.
Nate Mayes, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, warned that lightning can travel through metal pipes and phone lines, so it is best to not take showers or baths during a thunderstorm, or to talk on a land line phone. He recommended staying indoors or inside vehicles during a thunderstorm and avoiding open fields and bodies of water.
"The best thing you can do is listen," Mayes said. "Lightning causes thunder. When you see lightning, start counting. Every five seconds that pass until you hear thunder is a mile in [distance]."