A 13-year-old boy who survived a strike of lightning – despite being hurled nine feet in the air, and losing his heart beat for an entire minute – is nonchalantly speaking out about the ordeal.
Josiah Wideman was walking through a park in El Mirage, Arizona, on August 8 with a friend at his side and a skateboard in hand when the bolt struck.
Video of the incident shows Josiah becoming engulfed by orange light, before being flung up, then bouncing on his head and landing on his back.
Today, the relaxed teenager told Good Morning America the only thing he remembers of the incident is ‘a little bit of heat’, as he calmly described being coaxed back to life by a bystander who rushed over to perform CPR.
Josiah Wiedman, 13, survived being struck by lightning in El Mirage, Arizona
His parents Krista and William (pictured) said he could have been dead if it weren’t for the passer-by who performed CPR
‘[I’m] trying to live my life a bit more because I know that it can end at any time now,’ he said.
Describing what happened to him, Josiah softly shrugged: ‘All I remember is just a little bit of heat, like kind of walking, barely.’
The main thing he’s dwelling on now is Cory, the man who was walking past and rushed to help.
‘He helped me survive and if he weren’t there and I probably would have been dead,’ Josiah said.
Lightning strikes are rare – just one in 1.2 million people are hit. But survival is not. Ninety percent of those who are struck survive the bolt.
Doctors believe Josiah was dealt much better odds of survival thanks to a combination of Cory’s CPR, and the fact that Josiah was carrying the skateboard, which he only started using three months ago.
While his mother Krista Wiedman, 35, is certain the skateboard is the reason he was struck, it also helped by channeling the majority of the voltage into the ground, rather than his body.
The teenager suffered minor injuries because his skateboard shielded him the electrical surge because it earthed the charged and carried it harmlessly to the ground
Josiah was walking home during a thunderstorm with his friend Javier when he was struck by lightning
His friend Javier Tapia was also struck as they walked home during the storm, feeling a burning sensation and suffering a mark on his hip but nothing more.
Meanwhile, Josiah hit his head on the sidewalk and was unconscious as Javier screamed his name.
Cory rushed over to give Josiah CPR before paramedics arrived and rushed him to Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
Josiah was taken to the hospital and put in a medically-induced coma for three days. He had fallen head first and had suffered a concussion, a fractured skull, burns on his leg and some short-term memory loss.
But once he came round, doctors said he could walk out the hospital, with no health issues to be concerned about.
Josiah Wiedman, 13 (pictured) was saved by his skateboard when he was struck by lightning in El Mirage, Arizona
The boy’s parents Krista Wiedman (pictured left) 35, and William Wiedman (pictured right) 45 said he was ‘blessed’ to have survived
Josiah, who has only been skating for two months, had fallen head first and had suffered a concussion, a fractured skull, burns on his leg and some short-term memory loss
Earlier this week, Josiah gave his first interview about the ordeal, saying: ‘I just remember a burst of heat and then everything went out.
‘I woke up three days later in the hospital and thought I had taken a nap. I didn’t know I had been in there three days.
‘Without my skateboard with me I probably would have been dead to be honest, or in a little pain. It saved my life in a way.’
He also had tubes inserted into his lungs to remove excess vomit that he had breathed in because of the shock, but medics say it could have been much worse.
Krista, a mother-of-four who works as a night auditor, said: ‘He is so blessed.’
His father William Wiedman, 45, a machinist, said: ‘After the lightning hit, Javier was sitting up and screaming Josiah’s name but Josiah was out.
‘The doctors said that when he was hit by the lightning his heart stopped for a minute, and he was put in a three-day medically-induced coma.
‘No one really knows what happened – we can only speculate – but the skateboard took a blunt hit of it and it didn’t even break.
‘They attribute the board to helping save his life because if it wasn’t there it would have penetrated his body and severely injured him.
‘The chance of getting struck by lightning is minute and who would think a skateboard would help, of all things?
‘Josiah is doing fine now. He is bummed out that he can’t go to school for two weeks because he’s ‘Mr Popular’ now, but he’s doing well.’
Josiah has recovered from his injures (pictured left) after he was put in an induced coma (pictured right) for three days after he suffered a concussion from hitting his head after being thrown in the air
He also had tubes inserted into his lungs to remove excess vomit that he had breathed in because of the shock
The boy has now been discharged from hospital and describes his condition as ‘perfectly fine’
Dr Craig Egan, at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, said the team was unable to identify an entry or exit point on Josiah.
Josiah, who has been discharged from hospital, said: ‘Right now I’m pretty much perfectly fine. My leg doesn’t even hurt whatsoever.’
The average bolt of lightning contains a billion joules of energy, enough to power a 60-watt light bulb for six months, according to experts.
The chance of being hit is around one in 300,000 and it’s estimated that around 24,000 people are killed each year by the natural phenomenon globally.
Over the past decade, around 27 people per year in the US have been killed by lightning, according to the National Weather Service.
While around 90 percent of those struck survive, many suffer life-changing injuries including severe burns or cardiac arrest.
The family are raising money for Josiah’s medical bills. Click here to donate.