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How do some people survive lightning strikes? Answered

 (stats from wikipedia...) At 54,000 °F, up to 120 kiloamps and 350 coulombs, one trillion watts of power, 3megavolts per meter, not to mention huge shockwave, how do some people manage to survive this?



Best Answer 7 years ago

Lightning strikes generally don't cause a lot of tissue damage (at least at the core vital areas, most of the "damage" occurs near the feet assuming the person is standing at the time). Most victims that are fatally wounded usually die of cardiac arrest. So, if there is medical attention within the immediate vacinity (namely, a defibrillator) the fatality rate decreases dramatically. Keep in mind these are all generalities, each case is unique and has it's own factors.

Wouldn't the heat melt you? I've heard of cases where it fused sand into glass-like material...

Your body can absorb and pass through a lot of energy. The heat is only at specific areas (think temperature of the sun), not all the way through, and is for a very small amount of time. It does cause a certain amount of injury, usually in the form of lost toes/feet. Ultimately, it is mostly passing through the body, and the ground it where all the energy is directed to. That's why the sand can be fused. Still the victim will often suffer severe burns, but not to the extent that they are normally fatal.

Wow, that was awesome! I thought that once you've been hit by lightning, you won't survive anymore. Thanks anyway!

Part reason some people survive is that a lightning bolt is, essentially, a set of high-frequency pulses. Those tend to travel on the surface of conductors., so the victim may (or may not) benefit from what amounts to a personal Faraday cage -- most of the energy goes around them rather than through them.

As Yokozuna says, this is not reliable. Assume lightning *will* be fatal.


7 years ago

A doctor acquaintance told me that he was stunned (not breathing) and had the horse under him killed by sheet lightning at night on a rainy Sierra mountain trail. His physician trailing partner saw it happen and used CPR to save his life. I met him three years after that episode and he was just starting to get normal feeling and function in his legs where they had touched the horses flank.

So, now you know of one survivor second person.