Struck by lightning: rubber boots save man from bolt

HAPPY TO BE ALIVE: Mitchell Fow was struck by lightning at his Mullumbimby property during Wednesday night’s storm. Mireille Merlet-Shaw
HAPPY TO BE ALIVE: Mitchell Fow was struck by lightning at his Mullumbimby property during Wednesday night’s storm. Mireille Merlet-Shaw Mireille Merlet-Shaw

THE bolt of lightning that coursed through Mullumbimby man Mitchell Foy's body could well have meant the end - had it not been for his rubber-soled boots.

The electricity, stirred up by Wednesday night's storm, struck the metal gate Mr Fay was holding a mere 2.5m away from where he stood.

"Because I had the rubber boots it couldn't earth itself through me," he said.

"If I had of earthed it, it would have fried and burnt its way through as the actual heat of the electrical charge would have damaged my body quite badly."

The Bay FM radio presenter said he had been in his shed making sure some equipment was covered from the rain when he heard what sounded like hail on the roof.

Worried that the car his partner was driving home from the shops would get hail damage, he went out to open the gate to save time.

When he got there, he realised it was the neighbour's headlights, but decided to open the gate for her anyway.

"As I closed the gate and was latching it, I heard a huge crack and then I saw the light off to my left and I was stuck," he said.

"I was experiencing light and it was down in my feet and in my hands and then it released me and I was thrown backwards and I landed on my hip.

"I've been electrocuted before from wires and houses and there's a definite tone that you experience in your muscular system when you get an electrical shot.

"It's sort of a deep node that throbs almost while you're stuck to it but this was something entirely different.

"It was a much higher frequency then I could describe."

The heat and voltage was enough to leave parts of the metal rainbow-coloured and warped.

Mr Foy said both his hands and his right foot were ringing but he managed to hop his way inside and call the hospital.

After about 15 minutes he was able to calm himself down enough to drive to the hospital.

"I'd been an ex fire-fighter with the NSW fire brigade so I've had a bit of training regarding electrocution," he said.

"And I think I was very lucky that A, I was wearing rubber boots and B, both hands were attached to the fence so the shock didn't cross the body through my heart.

"Also because I was only electrocuted, not hit, by the lightning I didn't get any burns associated, so I was an extremely fortunate person given the circumstances."

Mr Foy said he has been overwhelmed by an "outpouring of support and love" from friends and family after posting the incident on social media.

"It's been an emotional day today."

Topics:  boots editors picks lightning bolt mullumbimby

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Big problem with new pension pay rise

Retirees receive a slight pension boost from this month.

Pensioners will receive an extra $13.20 a fortnight from this month

Donations flood into storm ravaged regions

Amanda Lindh at Murwillumbah Community Centre. Thanks to News Corp, Givit and the Red Cross, the centre will soon be re-opening its food pantry. The pantry was destroyed by flooding in the wake of Cyclone Debbie.

12 months later, Cyclone Debbie's impact still felt

Debbie the second most costly cyclone in Australia's history

The Insurance Council of Australia says the cost of Debbie's damage is second only to Cyclone Tracy which devastated Darwin in December, 1974.

$1.71 billion to fix damage from Townsville to Lismore

Local Partners