Man, 32, struck by lightning in Rosemont as storm hammers city
Published Monday, July 27, 2015 9:03PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 28, 2015 10:04PM EDT
A 32-year-old man is in serious condition Tuesday after he was struck by lightning in Rosemont Monday evening.
The man was riding his bicycle around 6 p.m., when he stopped at the corner of Jeanne d’Arc and St. Joseph Blvd.
The man was standing under a tree when he was struck.
Witness Roman Cypryusky saw it happen.
“He was standing near the tree and he smoked a cigarette,” just as the storm began, he said.
Cypryusky said he noticed the man because he looked very peaceful.
“He held his bicycle and he smoked and there were not too many clouds, not raining. I was on the balcony maybe five drops of the rain and suddenly I hear pow! And I see this flash of light from the top of the tree to the bottom and the gentleman fell down,” he said.
The lightning bolt came by surprise, before the storm was underway.
"No rain, just five drops, no flashing, no nothing. just one single lightning hit him," he said.
The man was hit directly on the head and went into cardiac arrest. Urgences Sante spokesperson Robert Lamle said he had an entrance burn wound on his head.
He survived, likely due to quick intervention of a nearby woman who residents say came out from her home nearby and began administering CPR to the victim.
She may have saved his life, said Dr. Ashok Oommen, an emergency doctor.
"Her timely intervention kept his heart and lungs flowing with blood," said Oommen.
He was taken to hospital by Urgences Sante in critical condition.
The fact it was a direct strike may have actually helped him, said Lamle.
“That is a shockable state. We need the heart to be in that state which means there's electrical activity in the heart to be able to shock it back into a rhythm,” he said.
On Tuesday, he was under watch and was breathing normally, but the next 24 to 48 hours are critical, doctors say.
Lamle has been working at Urgences Sante for 30 years and says this is only the second lightning strike he can recall.
According to Environment Canada, there are an average of 10 lightning-related deaths and 164 lightning-related injuries a year. The majority of the fatalities and injuries occurred to people who were in open areas or to those taking shelter under trees.
Experts say if you cannot get inside quickly enough during a storm, it’s best to huddle in a crouched position.
"Here the hope is that it goes from one leg to the other and bypasses the heart," said Oommen