June 30, 2007
Tift County -- The afternoon started like any other. "Sunny, hot just like it is for June or July weather," said Tift county firefighter, Dewayne Drowdy. But a light summer shower quickly changed that. "A good sprinkle is all we were getting," said Drawdy.
About twenty men were working on a cantaloupe field. Three of them went back to their truck parked under a pecan tree when the unthinkable happened. "We heard a loud bomb. We knew that lightening had struck, but we didn't know where," said Drawdy.
Two of the men struck were conscious but the third was not. " I checked his pulse, didn't get nothing at first. They let me know that their was another victim and I checked him. Then I went back to him and started C-P-R immediately," said Drawdy.
The Tift County sheriff's department came to their aid until the paramedics arrived. The men were then taken to Tift Regional where one was in critical condition. The other two are fair. "Minor burns, it looked just like blisters, but other than that nothing that you can really tell," said Drawdy.
Paramedics say that C-P-R is the only reason that the one in critical condition is even alive. Paramedics want you to also know. "Just avoid any trees. Don't get under any metal buildings. The safest place to be if you are out in the open is in your car with the windows rolled up," said Tifton EMS, Captain Tommy Howell.
But the most important thing to keep in mind. "The biggest thing is if you hear thunder go indoors. Avoid any open areas and don't wait to see lightning. If you hear thunder just seek safe shelter," said Howell.
Call 9-1-1 if anyone has been struck by lightning. If you are certified in CPR or first aid, you can provide assistance until help arrives.
Officials haven't released the men's names, but they are migrant workers. Two of the men were taken to Tift Regional are in fair condition. The man in critical condition has been transported to Macon Medical Center.