SANTA MONICA (CBSLA.com) — One of the dozen people injured by a fatal lightning strike at Venice Beach told a harrowing story Sunday evening about surviving.
One 20-year-old was killed, another person critically injured.
Paul Dionne spoke to KCAL9’s Jeff Nguyen as he left St. John’s Medical Center in Santa Monica Sunday evening.
He knows he is lucky to be alive. He was in the water at the time the lightning hit.
“The next thing I know I was trying to get my head above the water for air,” Dionne said.
He told Nguyen he was enjoying an afternoon of body boarding when he was knocked off his board.
Fortunately, his partner, Jose Mendoza, was only a few yards away standing in the sand.
The couple’s friends rushed into the water to pull Dionne out.
“He was on his face, we kind of carried him. He was like you know really heavy and he wasn’t cooperating with us,” said Mendoza. “He was speaking, but we didn’t know what he was saying. He was asking me what happened.”
Dionne was one of 2 people paramedics took to St. John’s. At the hospital they underwent EKG’s to check their hearts and a series of tests.
“Blood work you have blood work. Check for the kidney function. Check for muscle break down. Those are the main, main, blood tests that one would get. And also a thorough examination from head to toe and skin to if there’s evidence of significant burns,” said Dr. Sanjeev Seth, ER Physician.
Because of medical privacy laws – doctors weren’t able to tell Nguyen about the second patient.
However, that person and Dionne were lucky — they only suffered superficial wounds.
Tonight Dionne is grateful but realizes how fragile the situation could have been.
“I understand one person didn’t make it,” he said, “I just want say my thoughts go out to that person’s family.”