Thread: A Must Read
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Old 06-29-2006, 12:26 AM
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A Must Read

my wife just called me and told me about this story. everyone please read and pass this along.

(WSBT/South Bend Tribune) Lightning erupted from dark skies over Lake of the Woods, Wednesday afternoon, striking two children on a boat ride.

Indiana Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Brian Kaser said the victims, a 15-year-old boy and his 12-year-old stepsister, were in a pedal-operated paddle boat near the center of the lake when the thunderstorm sneaked up on them.

"It appears that the storm caught them before they could come in off of the lake," he said.

Witnesses on shore saw a bolt of lightning strike directly on or near the paddle boat, according to Kaser.

Kaser said one of the children fell into the water after the accident, while the other remained on the boat.

Neither of the victims was wearing a life jacket, Kaser said.

Neighbors who witnessed the incident immediately boarded a pontoon boat and a personal watercraft, then sped to the scene to pick up the victims and rush them to shore.

"The boy was curled up on the front of the paddle boat and the girl was half in the water and half out of the water," explained Travis Meister, who helped with the rescue.

"It looked bad. The first thing we thought was we got to get her out of the water," Meister said.

When Meister got closer to the boat, he realized the girl wasn’t the only one in the boat.

"He was just kind of moaning a little bit. He was conscious, but not with it," Meister said.

"They did a very heroic deed," Kaser said of the neighbors who helped. "With most lake communities, everyone knows everybody, and they all look out for each other.

"That’s what happened here," Kaser said.

At 2:20 p.m., a neighbor placed a 911 call to report the accident, and emergency responders were able to meet the rescuers as they brought the victims to shore. Kaser said CPR was performed on at least one of the children.

"They were pumping her chest for at least 10 minutes," said Al Cunningham, another neighbor.

"The little girl was in bad shape. She was burnt. All one side was burnt," Cunningham said. "He was moving his legs and arms and everything else, but the little girl wasn’t moving at all."

Both victims, Kaser said, were taken to Community Hospital of Bremen by ambulance. Both were later taken to Memorial Hospital in South Bend, one by helicopter and the other by ambulance. The girl was then flown to the pediatric intensive care unit in Kalamazoo’s Bronson Hospital.

The names of the victims were not released.

"Hopefully they are going to be OK. Our prayers are with them," Meister said.

Kaser said the accident illustrates the dangers lightning poses to boaters.

"We tell people in our boater safety courses that if they can hear thunder, they can be hit by lightning," he said. "You should always try to get off of the water if a storm is in the area."

But Jim DeBuano, another neighbor, said the storm seemed to catch everyone by surprise.

"You could see dark clouds, and beyond that it was clear. It looked like it was going to pass over," he said.

The South Bend Tribune and NEWS22 contributed to this report.

as you can see it doesn't matter what kind of boat your in. please if your going to be in, on, or around the water use some sense. don't think one more cast or it can't happen to me. play it safe for you, and your loved ones.
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