A 56-year-old resident of the town of Novokubansk, in Russia’s Krasnodar region, Vladimir Chumbasov, and his common-law wife Tamara, still shudder as they recollect the amazing incident that they had to experience during a thunderstorm.
That night, Vladimir, his 26-year-old son Sergey and wife Tamara were sitting on a couch on the terrace of their house and watching black clouds gathering in the sky above their heads. The men were smoking cigarettes and were about to come inside when they heard a cracking sound. Three jumped off the couch instantly when the second crack occurred and were incredibly lucky to stay alive.
“If I had stayed sitting on the couch, the lightning would have struck me in the head. We jumped up, and it hit me in the right shoulder, went through my stomach, struck my wife’s elbow that she was pushing against my side and came out of her left leg. I lost consciousness just for several seconds thinking that I was hanging between life and death. The lightning burnt my T-shirt. I wonder why it struck the wooden terrace if there was a metal roof and electric power lines nearby,” the man said.
Vladimir heard somewhere that victims of lightning strikes should lay on the ground still and just wait for help to arrive. The lightning did not touch his son, so he rushed to call the ambulance. Paramedics arrived in several minutes. They hospitalized the man and his wife, but the couple decided to leave the hospital in several days.
“We haven’t discovered anything unusual with ourselves yet. We’ve heard stories saying that survivors of lightning attacks may have fortune-telling abilities or do other unusual things afterwards. Nothing like that has happened to us. We hope that the lightning was a good sign – we’ve been building our new house here for long and we hope that we will soon have it complete,” the man said.
Unfortunately, incidents of significant changes in the condition of those who survived lightning attacks are not numerous at all. One may say that such stories are a myth, or at least an exaggeration. However, it is obvious that the lightning is much more an astounding and mysterious phenomenon than people think. It can be explained with electricity laws, but the laws of physics cannot explain everything when it comes to the lightning phenomenon. The lightning is an atmospheric discharge of electricity, but we either do not know exactly what electricity is, or the lightning is not just a matter of electricity alone. Meteorologists can predict thunderstorms, but the lightning activity can not be either forecast or understood.
A doctor of the hospital, where Vladimir Chumbasov was hospitalized after the lightning strike, said that the lightning had left a first-degree burn on the victim’s body.
“Usually, the work of the heart muscle is disrupted during a lightning attack. The electrocardiogram has not shown any changes. Most likely, the lightning did not strike his body, but it hit the ground only several centimeters away from the man,” the surgeon said.
The Ilyushin 20 (Il-20) military electronic reconnaissance aircraft of the Russian Air Force with 14 servicemen on board that went off radar screens off the coast of Syria was shot down by Syrian air defense systems over the Mediterranean Sea