10-year-old who was struck by lightning: ‘I’m really thankful I’m still alive’

Published: Jun. 26, 2019 at 9:39 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Three people were struck by lightning during severe weather Tuesday night, in a rare occurrence that prompted city officials to urge residents to take extra precautions during thundershowers.

Those injured include a 10-year-old boy ― Neziah Ki-lusi ― who was struck while riding in the back of a pickup truck in Kalihi.

Authorities said lightning hit the front of the truck and a transformer about 9 p.m.

On Wednesday, after being released from the hospital, the fifth grader said he know he’s lucky.

“I’m really thankful that I’m still alive," he said. “It felt like I got one big huge, one big huge shot from a gun in my hand.”

He said he was with his family and they’d just pick up his mother and aunt from work when the incident happened. With the cab of the truck full, he’d hopped in the back with his dad for the short ride home.

The rain was coming down hard when they saw a bright flash and what sounded like a cherry bomb.

“At first I never knew he got hit,” said the boy’s dad, Niko. “All I see is him jumping on me and then he said ‘I felt it. I felt it.’ And I said, ‘You felt what?’”

Neziah said after the lightning strike he was screaming in pain as he waited for an ambulance to arrive.

But on Wednesday, the red streaks on his arm were all but gone. He said before he was discharged from the hospital, his doctors gave him some advice: Stay out of the rain.

The lightning strike injuries were extremely rare for Hawaii. Hawaii only sees lightning about eight days out of the year and rarely in June.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Derek Wroe said during the height of the storm, Oahu saw about 70 lightning strike an hour.

The two other people injured in lightning strikes were airport employees.

A state Transportation Department spokesman said the two were outside on the tarmac when a plane was struck by lightning.

Both men ― an American Airlines caterer and cargo handler ― complained of injuries to their left arm, and were hospitalized in serious condition.

The incident prompted officials to warn the public about lightning strike hazards. During severe weather, they said, it’s best to stay indoors and away from metal objects.

This story will be updated.

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