Lightning Strike Survivor Feels Lucky To Be Alive

By: KAKE News Email
By: KAKE News Email

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Friday, March 30, 2012

A Wichita man is recovering after he survived a lightning strike.

"I don't think it was a direct strike because I didn't get any burns. It's not a feeling or something I'd want to go through again," said Bill Isles.

The 48-year-old man is a volunteer storm spotter. On Thursday night, he was standing in his backyard and thought the lightning was far away from his home in Southeast Wichita.

"In the distance, I would hear thunder and see lightning. I didn't think anything was quite that close," said Bill. "And it came as quite a shock."

The shock knocked Bill to the ground. His roommate was sleeping inside the house and the only thing nearby was his amateur or ham radio.

"My whole body was twitching. My radio had flown a little further ahead of me. I managed to grab it and call out," he said.

When Bill called for help through the ham radio, our KAKEland chase coordinator, Mike Mathia, heard his call. Mathia and two other amateur radio operators called 911.

"The only time someone's going to yell help or anything of that nature is if it's a life threatening situation," said Mathia. "I pretty much dropped everything else I was doing, went to this [points to ham radio] and started taking notes on where he was and how it happened."

Although Bill continues to have muscle spasms, he feels lucky to be alive.

"I feel very blessed but for the grace of God. Again, the outcome could've turned out much, much, much worse," said Bill. "I'm thankful for those people that did hear my radio signal, that did get help coming to me."

Bill did not suffer burn or muscle damage.

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Around 9:30 p.m., as a severe storm moved through Wichita, a man was struck by lightning in his back yard in the 6300 block of east Orme, just southwest of Kellogg and Woodlawn.

The victim, Bill Isles, was coherent and used an amateur radio to call out for help. The chase coordinator in the KAKEland Weatherplex heard his call on our "ham" radio and called 911.

Isles was speaking with Sedgwick County EMS upon their arrival but was taken to St. Francis in critical condition.

The storm produced extreme lightning, torrential rain, and hail up to two inches in diameter.

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