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Limerick farmer survives lightning strike

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A COUNTY Limerick farmer is lucky to be alive after he was struck by lightning, tossed into the air like a rag doll and couldn’t move his arms or legs.

His doctor in University Hospital Limerick had never seen a lightning strike on a person before, or the “tracing down my arm”.

The east Limerick dairy farmer, aged in his 60s, told the Limerick Leader he had a lucky escape.

“I was opening a gap to let the cows out after milking, and bang. It hit me on the right arm. I just felt the bolt going through my whole body. There was no rain at the time, there was no thunder or lightning.

“The thunder came within five seconds of me getting the bang - the loudest clap of thunder I ever heard. We had a thunder and lightning storm for an hour after that and the rain that fell was unreal.

“Initially, I wasn't sure what was after happening to me. When the thunder came I knew straight away it had to be lightning.

"The electric fence wasn’t even on at the side I was opening the gap,” said the farmer, who wished to remain anonymous as he is a private person.

He found himself on the ground about two metres away from where he had initially been standing.

“It blew me back. I was lying on my back. I had no movement in my hands or my legs - no power at all. I tried to move and tried to get up but I couldn’t. I had my phone in my pocket and I couldn't get my hand to my phone to ring for help,” he said.

Thankfully, the feeling in his body came back some time later and he was able to get up.

“I felt fine but I went to the Regional (University Hospital Limerick) just to be on the safe side and to make sure there was no damage done. I was kept in for the night.

“I got excellent treatment, I got fully checked out - brain scan, X-rays, machine on my heart, everything. It was top-class.

“The doctor had never come across a lightning strike. I had a tracing down my arm and they had never seen that before,” said the dairy farmer.

The odds of being struck by lightning in your lifetime are 1 in 15,300 but, thankfully for this man, it is one in 9,000,000 for lightning to strike the same person twice.

“Little did I think that evening when I went out to open the gap I was going to get a bang. You never think it’s going to happen to you. It is nice to be able to tell the tale,” he said.

Cllr Martin Ryan said he is glad the man has recovered.

“It was freak weather,” said Cllr Ryan.