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Man Waiting for Train to Pass Struck by Lightning


July 10, 2006

Tampa, Florida-- 52-year-old Ray Galusha was waiting for a train to pass at a railroad crossing along US 41 around 7 p.m. Saturday evening, when he was struck by a lightning bolt.

Galusha was heading to his Riverview home located about 1,000 yards beyond the railroad crossing. While he waited for the train to pass, he turned off the engine in his Pontiac Sunbird and had his arm hanging out of the car window when he was struck.

"The first thing when I got shocked, I tried to take a breath in, and I couldn't breath. I said, damn that must have killed me, because I couldn't feel anything...just a tingle of the body," Galusha said.

According to Galusha, the lightning bolt first hit the train's engine. Then travelled to the bumper of a pickup trucked in front of his car. The lightning came out of the pickup's trailer hitch ball, hit his car, then jumped to the Chevrolet Impala behind him, knocking the woman inside, out of her car.

Galusha received burn marks on both elbows from where the lightning hit and left his body. He lost his vision and his speech. His tongue swelled and his muscles tightened so much, that he couldn't take his hand off the steering wheel. He could barely overcome the numbness.

Knowing how much he needed help, Galusha tried to call 911 but his cell phone had been fried. Somehow, he made the short distance home, where family and friends came to his rescue and called paramedics.

Galusha was taken to Tampa General Hospital, and spent the night in the intensive care unit. He
was later listed in good condition and is expected to make a full recovery.

Florida ranks number one in the country for deaths caused by lightning.





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