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Paramedics Say NJ Teen Is Lucky To Be Alive After Lightning Strike

CHATHAM, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A New Jersey teenager is shaken but alive after he was struck by lightning during storms Thursday evening.

Nineteen-year-old Brendan Darby, still in a bit of a daze, sat down with CBS2's Christina Fan to share his story.

Brendan Darby, 19, was indirectly struck by lightning during storms in New Jersey on Aug. 8, 2019. (Credit: CBS2)

The thunder was so deafening, the clouds so menacing that when the storm hit Chatham Thursday night, Darby had no time to run.

He was running on the turf behind Chatham Middle School when a strong cell came through. Before he could get off the field, he was knocked off his feet by a bolt of lightning.

"Right as it happened, I thought, I should be dead right now," he said.

John Tunny told Fan his daughter saw it happen, and ran home for help.

"We'd never seen anything like it. You could feel it. You could see it," Tunny said.

"It was kind of a big spark. She said it was by me. She saw that I was on the ground knocked out as she was running away," Darby said.

The teenager lay unconscious for two minutes before coming back to his senses. Darby says he doesn't remember blacking out.

"I just remember waking up, a lot of confusion, adrenaline. I grabbed my keys, wallet, phone, and ran for help," he said.

He wandered to the nearest street, where Tunny found him and called 911.

"Definitely, clearly like, disoriented. He was like, 'Mister, mister.' I was like, 'Hey, are you OK?' and he said, 'I think I got struck by lightning.' So we, of course, we went into, like, 911 mode," Tunny said.

Chatham Middle School (Credit: CBS2)

Paramedics say Darby was struck indirectly. They said he's incredibly lucky to be alive, considering the bleachers, underground sprinkler system and open field all attract lightning.

"You don't think it can happen to you, but it can," he said.

In fact, the chance of being struck by lightning once in your life is one in 3,000.

"I feel, why did this happen to me? It's just that the chances are so low of getting hit, and with these things that are so uncommon, you don't think it'll ever happen to you, but it can," Darby said.

Darby woke up Friday morning with a slight headache but is otherwise OK.

"Definitely going to start checking the weather more often. Check the radar, don't go outside if it's going to thunder or lightning, even if it's a 30 percent chance."

While Darby doesn't feel lucky to join that exclusive club, he is grateful to have walked away without a single scratch.

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