Hoaxes & Rumors

Struck by Lightning Twice in 60 Seconds: Real or Hoax?

Struck by Lightning Twice in 60 Seconds: Real or Hoax?

With Power Ball jackpots routinely exceeding several hundred million dollars, you’ve probably heard or read the following mantra several hundred times: “Your chance of hitting Power Ball is less than getting struck by lightning, twice in the same day!” A video clip which has circulated for several years shows a local street surveillance camera which allegedly captures one unlucky individual getting struck by lightning twice in 60 seconds. Is this real or fake?

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It’s a hoax.

Let’s first take a look at the video, which was originally posted back in 2011. 

The first bolt from the heavens knocks the poor guy down and even leaves a char mark on the pavement. The poor son-of-a-gun gets up dazed and confused, brushes himself off, takes a couple of steps and gets struck again.

Livescience debunked the video, noting that “The chance of survival in the case of a direct strike is essentially zero.” On a more technical note, it is pointed out: “Each flash appears in only one frame of the video, with no saturation or blooming of the camera. A lightning flash at nighttime, when the lens is wide open, would probably saturate the camera.”

The following video takes a closer look at the technical reasons this video is fake.

Surviving Lightning Strikes

There are approximately 240,000 people injured by lightning worldwide annually. In the United States, there are approximately 1000-2000 people reporting lightning related injuries annually with 67 fatalities.

Lightning strikes on humans are generally categorized as direct and indirect. Very few people survive direct strikes. Enormous quantities of energy pass through the body very quickly in direct strikes. Internal burns, organ damage, and injury to the nervous system are among the injuries caused by direct strikes, usually causing fatal injuries or permanent impairment.

Most people that are hit by lightning are hit by indirect strikes called flashovers or side strikes. In this case, the electricity doesn’t actually pass through the body but instead forms an arc to the feet and then dissipates. Injuries include minor burns and possible non-permanent neurological problems.

For a sense of perspective, the energy in a “side strike” is about five amps – enough to run a small electric heater – but not enough to kill a person of average health.

Bottom Line

The video of a man being struck by lightning twice in 60 seconds is a hoax. The chance of surviving such strikes is “essentially zero” and there are technical clues that the video is doctored.

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