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Lightning Strike Survivor Tells Story

By Sharon Ko

WHITE CITY, Ore. — A lighting strike survivor is sharing his brush with death as another Oregon man recovers from a lightning strike on Friday.

Portland emergency crews believe lightning struck a tree, traveling through it and hitting the hiker. Another survivor, who had a similar experience, is in Southern Oregon. He says his prayers go out to the hiker and hopes he will fully recover.

For Austin Melton, burnt clothing and small scars are what he has left to remind him of being struck by lightning. But what’s reminding him of his near-death experience again is a man in Portland who was struck by lightning on Friday.

Melton’s dad, Chuck Melton, says after seeing his son fully recover, his prayers go out to the hiker.

“I know some old church members that I know quite well and so just I’m just hopnig that he continues with his life with what he’s been blessed with,” says Chuck.

Melton’s dad believes it’s a miracle his son is alive. In 2009, after watching a basketball game in La Pine, the lights went out because of a storm and Melton went outside to check it out.

“I walked out there, probably 100 feet, and then after that I don’t remember much,” says Melton.

Doctors told him close to 500,000 volts struck him in the head, traveling through his body. But Melton doesn’t feel or remember it.
“I woke up in the hospital with a giant tube down my throat,” Melton recalls. “For the first second, I thought I was abducted by aliens, really! I’m not kidding.”

Melton says he has a few scars and is fully recovered. He says he can joke about it now.

“Sometimes when I’m messing around, I’ll be like ‘yeah, I’ve got lightening speed’,” he says.