Wilmington man recovering from lightning strike

Dmitri Khorokhoria and Yuliana Kukharenja
September 4, 2013 8:31:07 PM PDT
A Wilmington man was struck by lightning and brought back to life.

Now, Dmitri Khorokhoria is at UNC Hospital recovering from what turned into a scary Labor Day weekend vacation.

Khorokhoria said the quick actions of his fianc?, who is studying to be a nurse, and the kind strangers who helped him until the paramedics arrived, helped bring him back to life.

"For the first time in a long time, we had these three days and decided to give ourselves a treat," said Yuliana Kukharenja, Khorokhoria's fianc?.

That treat was a long weekend at the Topsail Beach. However, on Monday, a thunderstorm replaced the sunny sky. In a matter of seconds, their walk on the sand took a shocking turn.

"I just remember holding hands," said Khorokhoria. "We were so happy, talking about the wonderful time we had, and the next thing, I'm in an ambulance."

Khorokhoria was hit by lightning. The strike surged right through him to his fianc?.

"I felt like something straight went through me," said Kukharenja. "The pain was so unbearable."

When she came to, Kukharenja says one arm was completely numb, and her fianc? was lying face down in the sand.  

"When I rolled him over, he was purple blue," she said. "I started screaming call 911."

Until help arrived, with one good arm left, Kukharenja started CPR right there on the beach as lightning still streaked through the sky.

"I was screaming, and I started compressions," said Kukharenja.

Strangers then carried Khorokhoria to a nearby house where paramedics took him to UNC hospital.

"I just prayed and prayed and prayed that he'll come back, and he did," said Kukharenja. "It was just a true miracle."

Doctors agree. While it wasn't a direct hit, they say he's lucky to be alive.

Khorokhoria didn't suffer any visible or internal injuries, but his muscles are extremely sore. He can barely move.

He's just happy to be alive, and is in good spirits.

"They say it's the same chances to win the lottery than being hit by lightning," said Khorokhoria. "I'd rather win the lottery."

Khorokhoria is feeling thankful to his fianc?, and the Good Samaritans who helped save his life.

That beach trip came after Kukharenja had a string of surgeries. It was a celebration of their hospital time being over. Little did they know they would end up in the hospital again.

If you'd like to help them, a fund has been set up at the PNC Bank located at 101 North Third Street in Wilmington. They appropriately named it "Miracle on the Beach."

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