California father, 2 children recovering after being struck by lightning

The family was struck by lightning while camping earlier this month.

ByABC News
September 20, 2017, 6:57 AM

— -- A California father and his two children are recovering after being struck by lightning earlier this month while camping, the family said Wednesday. And the whole unbelievable scene was caught on video.

Christopher Lovera and his children -- Aidan, 12, and Nadia, 9 -- were fishing near a lake in Tulare County, California on Sept. 3, when a lightning bolt struck the tree they were sitting under and knocked the three of them unconscious.

The strike sent them airborne and witnesses said it looked as if they had been blown up by electricity, according to Lovera. The force also tore off their clothes, he said.

A video posted to Christopher's Facebook showed the father talking to his children just seconds before the lightning bolt struck. He also posted photos of his family recovering in the hospital.

"That's where pretty much where our combined story ends, and after that, it was waking up to individual scenes of trauma," Lovera told ABC's Fresno affiliate KFSN on Wednesday. "It's very visceral seeing the red, orange just flash down the tree and the explosive power of it hitting the ground."

A couple, seated on the opposite side of lake, captured the terrifying moment of the lightning striking the tree on video.

"We all blacked out, and we didn't hear anything either," Aidan told KFSN. "When I first saw dad, I thought he was dead because I didn't see him breathing or moving."

In a Facebook post earlier this month, Lovera said he and the children channeled “various amounts of the bolt that hit the tree at our back” before it “made explosive contact with the ground.”

Lovera, who was paralyzed for a few hours, said the experience has taught him a lot about how generous people can be. He said people on the scene performed first aid on him and his family until rescuers arrived.

They were eventually airlifted to a local hospital, where Christopher was treated for second-degree burns, while the children were treated for severe burns and punctured eardrums.

"If I have to feel lucky about something, I feel lucky I had amazing people around that took care of my kids and me," Christopher said. "I was in a pretty dark place and those people pulled me out of it."