Sevier County woman survives lightning strike

Utah - A Sevier County woman beat the odds after getting struck by lightning and surviving. Experts say those odds are 1 in 700,000.

Helen Thornock and her husband Norm were playing a round of golf Sunday at the Cove View Golf Club in Richfield. An unexpected lightning storm blew in and Helen was hit by a “Bolt out of the Blue” while leaning on a tree. They were at the 3rd hole; Norm was preparing to tee off when the lightning struck. It hit the tree blowing shards of bark ten feet away and sending a paralyzing charge into Helen. “When I heard the boom I looked over and she was already falling,” recalled Norm. He ran to his wife’s side. “I was scared,” he said. “I wasn’t sure she’d be alive when I got to her.”

The blast violently constricted Helen’s muscles; she couldn’t talk, and worse, couldn’t breathe. “I was aware I couldn’t breathe and needed to breathe to live,” she remembered.

Being an experienced nurse, Helen knew what needed to be done, but she couldn’t move and couldn’t communicate with her husband. “I knew my chest wasn’t able to expand so my thought was I need to be on my side.”

Norm said, “I could read her lips, ‘roll me over.” So that’s what he did and she began getting the air she needed. EMT’s arrived and Helen was airlifted to the University of Utah Trauma and Burn Unit. Amazingly she only stayed a couple of days before returning to her home in Annabella.

Helen was burned from the tip of her scalp to the tips of her toes and ruptured an eardrum. She has burns on her neck, arms, legs and chest and virtually everywhere she is burned huge holes were blown in her clothing.

The car keys in Helen’s pocket were even scorched.