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Like mother, like son: Lightning strikes twice in same family

They say lightning doesn’t strike twice, but it has for the Ramsay family. Sean Ramsay, hit by an indirect lightning strike Tuesday while working at Fort Victoria RV Park, just learned from his mother that she was also struck when she was a child.
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Sean Ramsay was hit by lightning at Fort Victoria RV Park. “All I really remember was the pain.”

They say lightning doesn’t strike twice, but it has for the Ramsay family.

Sean Ramsay, hit by an indirect lightning strike Tuesday while working at Fort Victoria RV Park, just learned from his mother that she was also struck when she was a child.

“I’d never heard that story,” said Ramsay, whose mother didn’t want to give out any details of the incident.

The 24-year-old, who spent only a few hours in hospital, said he has limited recollection of Tuesday’s lightning strike, but feels “extremely lucky” the outcome wasn’t worse.

“No scarring, which was lucky. I’m alive, which is absolutely amazing.

“Everyone’s told me to buy a lottery ticket and I haven’t bought one yet — I’m not much of a gambler.”

Ramsay, who works for Eagle Propane Sales, said he was filling an RV from a bulk propane truck, crouching on one knee, when the lightning struck.

His memory of what took place next is hazy.

“I don’t remember seeing the lightning. I don’t remember hearing the thunder. For me, all I really remember was the pain.

“It really hit through my body and it was just extraordinary. It was almost like there was 1,000 pounds of weight on every piece of my body.”

Ramsay said one hand was blackened by the jolt.

“And basically all the muscles in my body have tiny tears in the muscle fibres,” he said. “Like a sports injury, but every part of every muscle in my body just feels like it’s been torn.”

Ramsay said he has boots specifically designed to stop a current in case he is working with electricity. “But either because I had my knee on the ground or because my arm was touching the trailer, I still got it.”

He said his safety training kicked in after he was hit and he did a number of important things almost automatically, such as disconnecting the hose hooked up to the RV and shutting off the propane.

He remembers stumbling to the front of the truck, using it to keep his balance, and making sure everything on the vehicle was shut off.

Ramsay said he will remain off work for the time being.

“My bosses have been really good about it. They just told me, take as much time as you need, if you need anything let us know.”

Ramsay said he is thankful for everyone involved in responding to the incident, including RV park resident Evan Williams, who called 911, paramedics and firefighters.

Environment Canada said up to 10 deaths and 164 injuries are caused by lightning each year.

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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