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Man recounts surviving lightning strike

By Marc Giauque | Posted - Oct. 6, 2010 at 10:22 p.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY -- As the families of two teens struck by lightning keep hope they'll fully recover, lightning victim Travis Baer shares his own strike survival story.

Baer was hiking in the Navajo Lake area of Bryce Canyon with his two daughters in 1992 when a sudden thunderstorm came up. He heard a crack of thunder in the distance, then another.

Bear was wearing a chain necklace, and the lightning bolt etched the outline of the chain around his neck.
Bear was wearing a chain necklace, and the lightning bolt etched the outline of the chain around his neck.

"A little bit closer, but still way, way off," Baer said, never thinking it would come near. "My last thought literally was, ‘What are the odds?'"

The unexpected did happen: A lightning bolt struck him and went clear through his body. It blew out Baer's eardrums and gave him both external and internal burns. He was wearing a chain necklace, and the lightning bolt etched the outline of the chain around his neck.

Baer says the first thing his doctor told him when he regained consciousness was, "You should be dead."

Baer's recovery was painful, he said, not so much because of the burns but because the electricity caused all of his muscles to suddenly contract, leaving them sore for days.

But Baer is grateful he survived.

"Whenever I get a little frustrated or stressed and every day, you know, when I'm getting ready, I can still look at my partial tattoo and remember I'm lucky," he says about the scar, a permanent reminder of his experience.

E-mail: mgiauque@ksl.com

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