Rhett McLeod is collected by paramedics after being hit by lightning in his Koongal home. His four-year-old daughter Mylee gave him her doll to take to hospital with him.
Rhett McLeod is collected by paramedics after being hit by lightning in his Koongal home. His four-year-old daughter Mylee gave him her doll to take to hospital with him. Contributed

‘Pins and needles’ after copping massive shock

A LOUD crack, a flash of light, and suddenly Rhett McLeod was thrown to the ground, paralysed.

With his daughter standing only a metre away from him, Rhett had just survived a lightning strike.

The Rockhampton man was sheltering from Thursday's freak storm inside his Koongal home with his wife Sonia and four-year-old daughter Mylee when the bolt of lightning struck.

Yesterday the 24-year-old woke up with very sore muscles, but still felt good enough to go out and buy a lotto ticket.

"The doctor said I was pretty lucky that my heart didn't stop or cop more damage," he said yesterday as he recovered at home.

Just before the storm hit Rhett had been outside in the yard cleaning up and putting Sonia's car undercover.

But when it intensified he returned inside.

Soon after he heard hail, so he opened the back door to see if the cars were being damaged.

"The next thing there was a loud crack and a flash,'' he said.

"My wife says I lifted off the ground and I and the door lit up.

"As I turned around I knew straight away what had happened and I tried to tell my wife to call the ambulance, but I couldn't talk or move.

"I just hit the ground, landing on some Chrisco boxes that we had just emptied. That's when it all got really noisy and scary as I couldn't move at all."

The feeling was hard to explain, but Rhett said it was like getting a static shock from a shopping trolley but a million times worse, with pins and needles all over his body.

"That's the best I could explain," he said.

"It did hurt a fair bit but it happened so fast, and pretty much straight away I was paralysed and couldn't feel anything, so the actual being hit part I only felt for a split second.

"It was enough to lift me up and knock me over. I weigh over 100kg."

Fortunately for Rhett it wasn't a direct hit - the lightning hit the metal frame of the doorway he was holding, so the force travelled through him and knocked him to the ground.

"Both my wife and daughter were screaming and crying," he said.

"My wife tried to come over to me and see if I was okay, but she said as soon as she touched me she felt like static through all her fingers."

He said they were both "amazing" through the ordeal, and he was proud of his daughter who stayed with him as his wife called 000.

"I asked her (Mylee) to get my phone for me so I could ring my mum which she did," he said.

"She also was able to grab a washer and wipe my face for me and gave me ice, as my mouth was dry."

As paramedics led Rhett away he clutched onto one of Mylee's baby dolls, one she insisted he take with him to hospital.

He was taken to Rockhampton Hospital and discharged the same day.

Rhett wanted to thank the paramedics who he said did a great job helping him and keeping his family calm.

He also wanted to emphasise the importance of teaching kids how to dial 000, which he is planning to do with Mylee in case of any future emergency.



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