Couple struck by lightning at Punggol jetty

Gracia Chiang, Straits Times 24 Aug 08;

A couple fishing in the open at Punggol jetty were hit by lightning yesterday afternoon.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) received a call at 1.45pm about the incident.

Two ambulances arrived in about 10 minutes.

Paramedics said the 61-year-old Chinese man was not breathing and there was no pulse. There were also burn marks on his chest.

'I just kept screaming for help and for someone to call the ambulance,' said his 54-year-old wife, who declined to be named.

The couple had been fishing for two hours when it started to drizzle. As it was not a heavy downpour, the couple decided to stay on.

'My husband was just saying that it's okay, there's no thunder today. Shortly after he said that, the lightning struck and he collapsed,' she said in Mandarin.

She added that had they gone to their usual fishing spot at the East Coast - where there is shelter - they might have averted danger.

They had chosen Punggol because it is nearer their home in Sengkang.

She said others who were fishing nearby had also felt an electric current but were uninjured.

When asked what else happened after her husband fell to the ground, she said: 'It all happened so fast. I can't remember. I was not very conscious.'

She escaped with numbness in her right foot and redness on her left arm.

The couple were sent to Changi General Hospital's Accident and Emergency Department.

The Sunday Times understands that the man's condition is critical and he is in intensive care while his wife has been transferred to a general ward.

The National Environment Agency has said that Singapore has one of the highest rates of lightning activity in the world.

Conditions here are favourable for the development of lightning-producing thunderstorm clouds and an average of 171 thunderstorm days are recorded annually.

Couple hospitalised after being struck by lightning
By Lynda Hong, Channel NewsAsia 23 Aug 08;

SINGAPORE: Lightning struck a couple at Punggol Jetty on Saturday afternoon.

The 51-year-old man was found with slight burns on his chest. He was not breathing and paramedics had to administer CPR throughout the trip to the Changi General Hospital, where he is currently being treated.

His 54-year-old wife suffered redness on her arms as well as slight numbness on her right foot. She was also admitted to Changi General Hospital.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) says Singapore, which lies near the Equator, has one of the world's highest rates of lightning activity.

This is because hot and humid weather throughout the year makes it easy for lightning-producing thunderstorm clouds to develop.

The NEA advises the public against using electronic equipment and holding metal objects like an umbrella when there is an approaching thunderstorm.