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Man Injured In Ft. Lauderdale Lightning Strike

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FT. LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – If you hear thunder, you know there’s lightning.

Brian Owens, 22, from Davie found that out the hard way while he was taking shelter from the rain at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport Tuesday afternoon.

Owens was sitting under the open hatch back of a friend’s SUV, when suddenly, he was in extreme pain.

“We heard a loud lightning strike and it was behind us and next thing I knew the water just blew up around me,” Owens said.

He was sitting on one leg, with the other touching the ground when lightning struck near him.

Making it worse, he had a metal gun in his back pocket. That acted as a conductor.

“I jumped up and started screaming. And grabbed my gun and threw it out because I thought the electricity had set off the bullets in my gun and I threw it out and I was looking for blood and I fell over,” said Owens.

He wasn’t shot , just jolted from lightning.

“The back of my thigh here, I felt like it was blown out,” he recalled. “I felt the whole back of my thigh, I thought it was gone.”

CBS 4 meteorologist Craig Setzer tells us had Owens been completely inside the SUV, he likely never would have felt the jolt.

“The car acts almost like an insulation cage around you while you’re in it,” reports Setzer. “But if you’re hanging your arms or legs off of it, you may be a conductor for the lightning.”

This is the third lightning strike this week.

Monday, a construction worker in Deerfield Beach felt a jolt, around the same time a man cutting grass in Davie was hit too. Fortunately , no one was seriously hurt.

But right now, Owens feeling pretty lucky.

“I did buy a bunch of lottery tickets last night,” he laughed, “so we’ll see how that turns out.”

Meteorologists say a good rule of thumb for dealing with lightning is the 30-30 rule. If you see lightning and then hear thunder with in 30 seconds of each other, that’s when it’s time to go inside and stay inside for at least 30 minutes.

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