Lightning Victim Felt Like “Wicked Witch”

Michael Chuckta wasn't off to see the Wizard when he went camping at Webb Mountain Park in Monroe. But after being struck by lightning, he says he can relate to a character in "The Wizard of Oz."

"I use the description of the wicked witch of the West when they poured water on her, she melted right into the ground. That's exactly how I felt," said Chuckta, 28, of Monroe.

He is still feeling the pain left by that lightning strike. Over the weekend, he was camping with a group of friends when the bolt hit his tent and went through his body.

"The first thing that ran through my mind, 'I've been hit by lightning, I'm going to die'," he said.

Fortunately for Chuckta, his nursing skills kicked in. He knew he had to get to the hospital.

"I unzipped the tent, I had no feeling in my legs, I crawled out of the tent on my hands. It was thundering, lightning, the rain kept pouring down on me, and I started screaming," said Chuckta.

That's when he saw two other friends, who had also been hit. The three of them packed into a car and drove to the hospital. Thankfully, Chuckta is fine, but you can still see the line where the lightning passed through his body. There's a star-like mark where it left his ankle.

The doctor said Chuckta's air mattress could have helped save his life, since he wasn't lying directly on the ground. But Chuckta also thinks he received a little help from above.

"It's very emotional for me. My grandmother passed away a year ago in June, and when we passed the cemetery where she's buried, I said a prayer as we drove by, and I really felt she would make sure we were all alright," he said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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