A lightning out of nowhere and he was blasted away? An Austrian man hiking 9,000 feet up in the Sierra Nevada became a victim of the act of nature called the ‘Lightning bolt’. As he got struck he captures the moment in his phone.
Mathias Steinhuber was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail with his girlfriend and their friend when he got struck by the lightning. He had an entry wound on his head and an exit wound on his foot. “It was like in a dream,” Steinhuber told The Associated Press in an interview at the University of California, Davis Hospital Burn Center. “I woke up. I had blood everywhere, my clothes were ripped apart. At some distance I heard my girlfriend scream my name. My first conclusion was that I probably fell down the mountain.” As he was struck, the man was taking a picture. His phone survived and the picture has a bright orange and white stripe on it.”
Steinhuber admitted that he didn’t remember getting struck by the lightning. Even though he could see a thunderstorm far in the distance, he said there was no rain or lightning nearby. Steinhuber had burn wounds right through his body and was really struggling to walk when the helicopter crew rescued him on Tuesday from an exposed peak among the mountains near Donner Summit, the California Highway Patrol Valley Air Operations said.
The couple from Innsbruck, Austria was visiting a friend, Carla Elvidge, in Truckee, California, near Lake Tahoe. Elvidge said that Steinhuber and his girlfriend, Kathrin Klausner, were hiking from Donner Summit to Squaw Valley and that they are avid hikers. “He was taking a picture and the next thing I know, I see this white flash, like an explosion,” Elvidge told The Associated Press in a phone interview from Fairfield, California.
Luckily for the Austrian hiker, the helicopter landed on Tinker Knob, which is at an elevation of 8,949 feet, and dropped off a paramedic who tended to Steinhuber. Steinhuber and Klausner said they feel extraordinarily lucky that he survived and are grateful for the quick response from rescuers. “Somebody told me the odds are higher winning the lottery than getting struck by lightning,” Steinhuber said. “I would’ve rather won the lottery.”