Man struck by lightning in Pawleys Island

A Pawleys Island man is recovering after being struck by lightning Tuesday afternoon.

Bob Beebe confirms that a man at a home on Fieldgate Road in the Ricefields neighborhood was struck by lightning. He says it appears the lightning struck a tree and then hit the victim.

Tuesday afternoon, NewsChannel 15's Lindsey Theis spoke to the Sodano family who owns the home. David Sodano explained the man was working for a landscaping company and was spreading pine straw in between about six trees, each more than 10 feet tall, in his backyard.

"You can still smell it," Sodano said about the lightning strike as he opened his back porch door to the backyard.

Midway Fire Rescue responded to the call. They took the man to Waccamaw Hospital in Georgetown and say he was conscious and responsive in the ambulance.

"You should always call 9-1-1 if someone is struck by Lightning," says Lt. Christian Slicker with the Myrtle Beach Fire Department. "Lightning strikes can lead to cardiac arrest, nerve damage, or severe burns."

Sliker says that Myrtle Beach Fire has been called to lightning strikes in the past. In unincorporated Horry County, last year there were 15 calls to lightning strikes. There have been four since January, which is unusual HCFR Assistant Chief Justin Gibbons says, because they usually start receiving those calls later in the summer.

To give you an idea of how prolific lightning can be, in some of the storms we had Tuesday evening, there were more than 600 lightning strikes in 15 minutes. That's about 40 a minute.

Here are some additional tips for staying safe in lightning or thunderstorms:

1 - Seek shelter immediately. Avoid seeking shelter in isolated buildings, such as barns, sheds, and huts.

2 - Do not bathe, wash dishes, or handle wet objects during a lightning and thunderstorm.

3 - Avoid using the telephone during a thunderstorm. Unplug the phone and all other unneeded appliances.

4 - If you are outdoors, get off high ground. Get away from tall trees, electric or metal fences, and telephone wires and poles. If you are part of a group, spread out. Do not lie flat on the ground. This would allow an electrical current to travel more easily. Squat down on the lowest level ground you can find. Put your head between you knees, and hug your knees.

5 - If you are on the water when the storm hits, if possible try to reach shore as soon as possible. Sliker also says avoid the beach and golf courses.

6 - If you are in a car, stay there. A car is designed to harmlessly ground lighting. Keep the radio turned to local channels to be warned of any tornado or storm damaging winds.

7 - If you're outside be aware of what you are carrying. Metal objects such as gulf clubs, your clubs, fishing rods, guns back pack frames, aluminum bats, and tennis rackets could act as a lightning rods.