Local News

Man on religious mission struck by dry lightning

Posted: 07/10/07 at 8:17 am EDT

NORTH MIAMI-DADE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A group of seventh-day Adventists are praying for a miracle after a lightning strike leaves one of their missionaries in a coma.

Miami-Dade Air Rescue transported Hailu Kidane Marian, 40, to Jackson Memorial Hospital Sunday after he was struck by dry lightning while selling religious books. According to one customer, a lightning bolt struck  as he walked door-to-door selling books along Northwest 199 Street and 78 Avenue Sunday afternoon. "I was buying a book from one of these guys, and there was one thunderstorm and thunder and then the second thunder, which was the lightning," explained Maria Martinez. "It was like a gunshot, and, when I turned around, I saw like a cloud of smoke and this one guy jumping, like basically being slammed on his feet. I guess he just fell back."

Francisco Perez, who led the group on their summer missionary trip says the group trusts God to provide a miracle. "There are a lot of people praying," he said. "We have received a lot of calls from many countries. He's a very Christian person, you know. He's always willing to help people. Doctors did some studies of his brain to see what's going to happen, but we still believe that God has the last word."

Witnesses say the strike was loud. "It was like a loud explosion," said Art Salcedo, "a loud explosion, and then you could hear the echoes. We know it was right there. It was very close."

When paramedics responded to the home, they found Marian in cardiac arrest and immediately began resuscitating him. "We saw that it hit a gentleman and we saw him on the floor. They were trying to get a respirator on him and to try to get a signal on him, and it started raining at that moment," said Salcedo.

Paramedics were able to revive the victim after ten minutes. He remains at Jackson Memorial Hospital in critical but stable condition.

Marina is an Ethiopian-born engineer training to be a nurse. He is also the second person in three weeks to be struck by dry lightning.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue urges people to avoid water, high ground and open spaces if outdoors during a thunderstorm. If indoors, avoid water, stay away from windows, and don't use the telephone or any electrical appliances. The MDFR added that the phenomenon of lightning without rain, is even more dangerous than lightning accompanied by a storm.

(Copyright 2007 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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