Keely Stiller, 16, is "one in a million", surviving to tell the tale
Her survival astounded hospital doctors and has prompted a warning about the use of electrical equipment during thunderstorms.
Marlowe Academy student Keely, 16, was with her cousin Yasmine, 16, in the basement flat of a block of 12 at Westcliff Terrace Mansions, Pegwell Road in Ramsgate last Thursday.
Her mum Amanda Stiller, 37, who had been in the next room, said: “I had been talking to my mum on the phone, the thunder was really close - I am petrified of it myself.
"My mum said ‘you will be fine, you are in a basement.’ There was then a massive bang.
“It was terrifying, absolutely horrendous, I have never heard a bang like it. It was a cross between two cars crashing and a helicopter falling out of the sky and hitting the ground. The telly went off with a bang, the X-box went off, all the lights flickered.”
A lightning strike had sent a bolt of electricity down through the electrics. Keely suffered a shock through her laptop, which had been plugged in.
Lightning strikes. File picture
Yasmine had been using her mobile, on the bed, next to Keely. She said: “I heard Keely shout, she was just screaming and shaking.”
Keely cannot remember anything about it. Her mum said: “Keely was very panicky and short of breath, her heart rate wasvery erratic, she could hardly stand up.
“It was terrifying, absolutely horrendous, I have never heard a bang like it" - Keely Stiller
"Her right arm which took the shock was left very bruised and swollen - it had bruising and marks all up it.
“An ambulance was called and she was taken to A&E where she was connected to an ECG [electro-cardiograph] machine.
“She has an exit wound in the back of her head. The lightning travelled through her to there. She is very lucky because she was leaning back with her head on the metal bed frame at the time. The lightning travelled out through her head and into the ground.
"If it not been for her position, we were told she would have been left with a big burn.
“It could have been a lot worse, if it had been her left arm it would have gone straight to her heart.
“The doctor said that only ‘one in the million’ live to tell such a story and that she is a very, very lucky girl. He could not believe how lucky she was.”
Keely Stiller with mum Amanda (right) and cousin Yasmine, 16
The following day Keely remained shaken and tearful with her arm in a sling, numb and painful, and terrified of loud noises.
Her mum said that the televisions in all the flats had been “blown out” and it is thought the lightning struck the digital aerial on top. Some lights had gone off and others had been left flickering.
She said: “When there is lightning and thunder about, you think you are safe in the house but you are not. Don’t use electrical equipment which is plugged in. This was the worse storm I have ever seen and what happened really makes you think about what you are doing.”