Teenager survives lightning shock

Connor Gordon got the shock of his life on Sunday afternoon when he was struck by lightning while fishing on his dam.
Connor Gordon got the shock of his life on Sunday afternoon when he was struck by lightning while fishing on his dam. Darryn Smith

A COUPLE watched in horror as a lightning bolt flung their teenage son 10 metres into the air as he paddled a kayak on the family dam.

When Connor Gordon, 14, woke up from his blackout on Sunday afternoon he was in the water, his fishing rod was on fire and he was not able to move his arms.

“I thought I was going to drown,” Connor said.

The Gordon family had gone down to their Redridge property dam, near Childers, to have some afternoon tea with family friends when Connor discovered a boat had floated away from its mooring.

“I decided to go for a paddle in the kayak to look for it,” he said.

He had a 1.8m-long fishing rod standing in a rod holder on the back of the kayak and was also holding an oar when he found the boat.

“Just after I yelled, ‘Mum, Dad, I found it’, I heard a big bang and blacked out,” he said.

“I hit the water, opened my eyes and could see perfectly.”

The fishing rod was on fire and the kayak paddle was missing.

Although he was able to move his legs, his arms were paralysed and straight as iron rods in front of him.

As he struggled to move his arms, dad Kris ran into the water and began to swim towards his son, who was about 100 metres offshore.

“I just dived in and started swimming towards him,” Kris said.

Mum Joanne grabbed another kayak and began a desperate paddle towards the boy.

They finally reached Connor, who had been able to start moving his arms slowly through the water.

After the couple got him back to shore, they raced to meet the ambulance.

Connor said his hands were tingling after the taking the hit, his hair was singed and he had superficial burn marks — coloured blue — on his wrists and lower back, which had disappeared by yesterday afternoon.

He said his ears had stopped ringing by the time he got to the ambulance, but every time he closed his eyes to go to sleep on Sunday night he could hear the crack of the lightning as it hit him.

“I just kept on having these flashbacks the whole night,” he said.

“I kept hearing the banging sound.”

Brandishing his fishing rod, now about 50cm long and frayed at the end after becoming the lightning’s conductor, Connor said he wanted to thank the paramedics and doctors who treated him at Bundaberg Hospital.

Mr Gordon said Connor was not so worried about buying a lotto ticket after his lucky escape, but he did want a new fishing rod.

“This is a definite warning to people,” Mr Gordon added.

“If there are any storms around, get under shelter and always wear a life jacket when on the water.”

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