Teens Survive Lightning Strike, Lived to Tell

PHOTO Dane Zdunich and Alex Lambson were waiting outside Snow Canyon High School near St. George, Utah, when the lightning hit, striking Dane from his head to his feet, then traveling through to Alex.
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Dane Zdunich and Alex Lambson are walking miracles. The 17-year-olds survived nature's most sudden and deadly fury -- a lightning strike that stopped both their hearts -- and lived to tell the story.

"Waking up in the hospital a couple days after that ... I had to be told so many times [what happened]," said Zdunich today on "Good Morning America."

"I kinda thought I was in hell," Lambson recalled. "My dad was standing over me...Everything was yellow because my eyes were burned ... I was on a bed that was too small for me."

The two boys were struck on the afternoon of Oct. 5 while they were waiting outside Snow Canyon High School near St. George, Utah, for their ride home.

The best friends were standing near a window and behind a tree when the lightning hit, striking Zdunich from his head to his feet, then traveling through to Lambson. They had no warning.

Ron Hansen, a social science teacher, said he heard a clap of thunder and then screaming. When he ran out of his classroom, he found the two students on the ground.

"To come out and see two boys lying on their backs, smoldering. There's no way to prepare for that," he said. "I thought I was looking at two dead boys."

Hansen and other school officials took turns performing CPR on the boys. Paramedics continued for 20 minutes on Zdunich and 38 minutes on Lambson. Normally efforts are halted after 15 minutes.

An average of 58 people die every year after being struck by lightning.

The teens were struck by what is known a clear sky lightning. The sky was fairly clear before they were struck, and then a black cloud formed just before the strike. Lightning can travel 25 miles ahead of the thunderhead, the storm itself.

Beating the Odds: Teens Still Recovering

For their mothers, who each got a frantic phone call after the accident and rushed to the hospital, seeing their sons was horrifying.

"The smell the first time I saw him, it was horrific, and to see him, it was just unbelievable," said Lambson's mom, Kaleen Talley. "Still to this day, I can't believe they were struck by lightning."

Dane's mother said that for 38 minutes, he was dead for all intents and purposes.

"I'm glad I didn't know that at the time," Leslie Broderick said on "GMA." "When they first took us in to see the boys, he was on a flat board, they rolled him up to take that out from under him and the blood had pooled in the back of his body. At first, we thought it was bruising and then later we found out, he was actually dead for that long."

The boys were severely injured, but their recovery continues.

Lambson was burned on more than 40 percent of his body and had to re-learn how to walk. He still doesn't have the full use of his hands and said he struggles with once-simple tasks like opening a bottle of water and using a computer mouse.

"It's going to get better, but it's taking a while," said Lambson, who expects to graduate high school in May and attend college in the fall.

Zdunich suffered injuries to his lungs, heart and pancreas, and nerve damage to his feet, but he can walk and is well enough to be back in school.

"I think [the accident] has changed both of us significantly," Zdunich said. "[We're] trying to go back to where we were."

Click here for more information on Dane Zdunich and Alex Lambson's recovery.

Click here to return to the "Good Morning America" website.

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