13 year old boy treated for lightning strike - on Friday 13 at 13:13

Two SJA volunteers attending a prominent festival

St John Ambulance volunteers improved the luck of a 13 year old boy when they treated him after he was struck by lightning – at 13:13 on Friday 13.

At 13:13 today, the boy was treated by the St John Ambulance team at Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival. He suffered a minor burn and was taken to James Paget Hospital, where he is expected to make a full recovery. Two more people have been treated at the event today for lightning strikes; they were all holding umbrellas at the time.

Trained to be the difference

Rex Clarke, who leads the team of St John Ambulance volunteers at the event, said: ‘There’d been very heavy rain all day, but this afternoon we saw a big flash of lightning over the sea and a loud clap of thunder. We got a call that someone had been struck by lightning so we immediately sent our paramedics to the scene, followed by an ambulance. Lightning strikes can cause cardiac arrest, but when our volunteers arrived the boy was responsive and breathing.

‘We treated two more injuries from lightning burns in the space of twenty minutes – all three people were holding umbrellas at the time, which acts as a conductor for electricity.

We treated two more injuries from lightning burns in the space of twenty minutes

Rex Clarke
Commissioner Operations, Suffolk

'Lightning strikes are very unusual, but St John Ambulance volunteers are trained to be the difference wherever they are – whatever the weather or the date.'

Jason Gillingham, County Ambulance Officer and on scene at the show, said: 'This was a minor burn to the boy’s shoulder, but he was taken to hospital and is recovering well.'

Around 70 volunteers have been providing first aid support to the thousands of people attending the Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival. The team includes volunteer nurses, doctors and paramedics.

How to help when lightning strikes

Clive James, first aid expert at St John Ambulance, says: 'The biggest risk of a lightning strike is that it could stop the heart and breathing. If this happens, you need to start CPR immediately and call for an ambulance. Other likely effects are burns – which happened in this case – or injuries from being knocked down by the force. If the person can walk, move away from the area immediately as lightning can strike in the same place.'