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Lightning strike to woman shocks neighbours

The Mount Pleasant home where a woman was struck by lightning on Wednesday afternoon.
The Mount Pleasant home where a woman was struck by lightning on Wednesday afternoon. Emily Smith

MARGARET Finato had briefed her grandson on the dangers of lightning only minutes before she heard, to her horror, that one of her neighbours had been hit.

Shortly before 1.10pm on Wednesday a 35-year-old woman received an 'indirect strike' at a home at Lachlan St, Mt Pleasant.

This means the lightning struck a metal object she was touching, transmitting it through to the woman.

She received minor burns to her back, and was taken to Mackay Base Hospital in a stable condition.

Fellow Lachlan St residents, who had known the lightning strike must have been close, were horrified.

A couple of doors up, Ms Finato had been sitting on the back veranda with her grandson when the strike happened and said it "felt like next to our clothes line".

"The thunder was a very unusual noise. It was very close to us," Ms Finato said.

"And I told the grandson to keep out of the water. Lightning will strike you if you are wet. Or if you are touching metal, it will definitely get you."

Up the street, Maureen Neali and Alysha Ainslie were watching a movie indoors when there was "a big bang" followed by the huge strike.

"It was insane. We went outside to check on the dogs, all the street dogs were barking it was crazy," Maureen said.

"It was just so loud. You could see the lightning, you could see it was so close."

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services said Mackay residents should seek shelter indoors, well away from trees, during storms.

It's also warned people should "avoid using the telephone during a thunderstorm" and to "beware of fallen trees and powerlines".

If you need emergency help, call the State Emergency Service (SES) on 132 500.

A look back at the 2008 Mackay floods:

Five people died from strikes in Australia in 2015 with 12 killed in the past five years

A large majority of people struck by lightning survive but it can cause permanent disabilities

Permanent injuries include loss of balance, headaches, memory problems and fatigue

Short term injuries include blindness, paralysis and in severe cases cardiac arrest

Victims do not carry a charge and can be given first aid

It can strike the same place twice and often does

Strikes can happen as far as 16km from a storm

Lightning can contain 100 million to one billion volts.

(Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Topics:  editors picks lightning mackay qas wildweather


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