11-Year-Old Survives Lightning Strike: Could Lightning Detection Have Helped?

lightning, thunder storm over the ocean

Florida leads the United States for the number of lightning strikes.

An 11-year-old boy from Florida survived a lightning strike in early July and was back at home a week after the incident. Levi Stock was boating with his family in Riverview on Florida’s west coast on Thursday. The Stock family said he had a rope in hand ready to tie up the boat as they approached Williams Park Boat Ramp.

Direct Hit

His mother, Kristen, said a lightning bolt came out of nowhere. “We went fishing, but the last thing I remember was swimming,” Levi said. He didn’t remember the bolt striking his lower back and exiting through his pinky toe.

“It went through my leg, out here then right there and it came through my pinky toe,” he said.

Added Kristen, “It was just an explosion in my face, my ears were ringing.”

lightning strikes boy, foot struck by lightning

This wound in his foot is where the bolt exited Levy’s body.

The impact of the lightning threw Levi off the boat and his father Derek jumped in the water to rescue Levi who was unresponsive.

Fast Response

As Derek started CPR compressions on his son, Kristen called 911 and four minutes later, first responders arrived. “I just remember thinking, ‘What can I do and I thought people just need to pray,’” Kristen said.

Levi was taken to Tampa General Hospital where he eventually regained consciousness. “I got struck by lightning?” he said when he awoke. “That’s pretty hard to believe because that’s one in 1 million chance,” he said.

The three deputies who administered first aid to Levi stopped by the hospital to check to him.

Levi Stock, sheriffs to the rescue

The three deputies who rendered assistance checked in on Levi and brought him his own version of Mjölnir, the famous hammer belonging to Thor, the god of thunder.

“Thank you for all the prayers really helped me to get through this,” Levi said. He added that he has some pain in his knees and legs, but doctors said all his scans were clear.

Lightning Detection

One thing that might have helped avoid the situation was some advance warning. That’s where the Talos Lightning Detector comes in. The company has taken the technology that meteorologists use to track lightning strikes and packed it into compact units that can be installed on a boat or a portable unit that can be carried by a person or secured on a kayak or small boat with a bracket.

Talos lightning detectors, lightning warning

Talos lightning detectors use colored and audio alerts when a strike is detected.

The unit can track a lightning strike up to 25 miles and flashes a green alert and sounds one audible beep. For a strike 16 miles away, it lights up blue and plays two audible beeps and when the lightning is 6 miles away, it flashes red and sounds three audio alerts. Get all the details on Talos products here.

Bertram, Talos Lightning detector

For larger boats, a fixed Talos system is available. This is installed on a Bertram yacht.