Monday, July 10, 2006

iPod user struck by lightning:
Jason Bunch was listening to Metallica on his iPod while mowing the lawn outside his Castle Rock [suburb of Denver CO] home Sunday afternoon when lightning hit him...

Next thing he knew, he was in his bed, bleeding from his ears and vomiting. He was barefoot and had taken off his burned T-shirt and gym shorts. He doesn't know how he got back in the house...

His face, chest, hands and right leg have freckle-size welts on them as if buckshot had come from inside his body out.

The wounds follow the line of his iPod, from his ears down his right side to his hip, where he was carrying the device. The iPod has a hole in the back, and the earbuds dissolved into green threads...

Bunch and his mother believe the iPod acted as an antenna, drawing the lightning to him. There were tall pine trees nearby that didn't get hit.

But lightning and weather experts say that's probably not the case.

"There is no scientific evidence to show that lightning is 'attracted' to items like an iPod. However, if someone wearing earbuds is struck, current may travel along the wires into the ears," said Gregory Stewart of the Denver-based Lightning Reference Center...
The Register points out,
The teenager would probably have been caught by lightning anyway, but it's possible the iPod earphone cables may have saved his life, directing the current quickly away from his chest and, crucially, his heart. Not that anyone should rely on any music player to protect them from storm injuries -- it's best to keep out of the weather.