Hero Teacher Helps Save Teens Struck by Lightning

A social science teacher was one of the first responders to help save the teens.

October 8, 2010, 3:22 AM

Oct. 8, 2010— -- Several Utah teachers and school administrators have been heralded as heroes after they rushed to help two teenagers struck by lightning during a sudden thunderstorm Tuesday afternoon.

"I thought I was looking at two dead boys," said Ron Hansen, a social science teacher at Snow Canyon High School near St. George, Utah. "To come out and see two boys lying on their backs smoldering … there's no way to prepare for that."

Hansen was one of the quick-thinking first responders who jumped into action to help the two best friends. Alex Lambson and Dane Zdunich were leaving the school when they were hit by lightning.

Hansen said he heard a clap of thunder and then some screams. When he ran out of his classroom, he found the two students on the ground.

Hansen and another teacher transported the teens back to the school. Hansen said he immediately started to administer CPR until paramedics arrived.

"The emotions of what really happened didn't come until we were relieved … and I got a chance to look at the boys from just a teacher's point of view, and that's when the tears hit me," he said.

Teens Recovering in Las Vegas

The teens are currently receiving treatment at the University Medical Center in Las Vegas.

Danita Cohen, spokeswoman for the University Medical Center, told the Salt Lake Tribune that Lambson, 17, has been upgraded to serious condition and Zdunich, 16, remained in critical condition.

Lambson's mother, Kaleen Talley, said her son has made some eye contact but "at the moment he's not awake."

The lighting strike left the teens with severe burns, the Tribune reported.

"His (Lambson) clothes were burned pretty much off of him, his shirt, and so he's burned on the outside of his body pretty bad…It's from his face all the way down," said Talley.

Lambson was taken off life support and was breathing on his own. He may be able to return home in the next couple of days, according to family members.

Teachers, Administrators Called Heroes

The teens' families are calling school officials like Hansen a hero.

But Hansen said anyone in his circumstance would do the same.

"I don't think of myself as a hero. I was just there when it happened and was able to help. It was something I prepared my whole life for hoping that it was something I would never ever have to do," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.