On Wednesday night, two skaters were struck by lightning in El Mirage, Arizona. The area’s monsoon-like weather has made lightning an unfortunate reality, but under average conditions you should be relatively safe from a little zap-zap. In the case of Josiah Wiedman and Javier Tapia, two 13-year-olds who were out skating that night, a skateboard acted as a lightning rod which sent them both to the hospital.
Once it started to rain, Tapia and Wiedman scrambled for shelter—we all know the drill. However Wiedman’s board, held against his side, served as the conductor for a burst of lightning, sending both teens flying (Wiedman’s head reportedly bounced on the ground as he flew a second time). A bystander rushed in to perform CPR.
As of today, the two teens are being treated at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Currently, Josiah Wiedman is unconscious and unresponsive.
The Wiedman family has set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for his medical costs. Please visit the page to show your support or even donate a few dollars.
Skaters can’t really prepare for potential strikes; lightning doesn’t follow a set pattern. The best you can do is to stay inside and stay away from materials that conduct electricity. Wiedman and Tapia got a raw deal in this rare scenario, and we hope they get back on their boards soon.