Six-year-old has close call with lightning strike

RALEIGH It happened on Midwood Drive in east Raleigh off Capital Boulevard Thursday evening.

Six-year-old Andrew Wiebe and his 8-year-old brother went outside to keep a recycling bin and a garbage can that were sitting at the curb from blowing down the road just as the storm was approaching.

"Daddy was gone (so) they decided to be the men of the house," the boys' mother Patty Wiebe said. "I said, 'okay, you can do it.'"

As the boys placed the garbage can behind bushes in front of the house, their mother says she was telling them to hurry.

"The little one went to jump over the barrel and when he did I saw a ball ? of just light flash, bluish-white ? over his back as he was jumping the barrel. And I thought that was weird," Patty Wiebe said.

"It felt like something was hitting me," Andrew Wiebe said.

Once inside, Patty Wiebe says her son looked stunned.

"He said, 'Mom, I was just struck by lightning,'" Patty Wiebe said. "I said, 'I don't think so. I think you'd be dead if you were, but what happened?' He said, 'I don't know. My whole shoulder is tingly.'"

But after a while, when Andrew Wiebe began to complain about bad back pain his mother decided to call paramedics. They told her that a person does not have to be directly hit by lightning to get hurt.

"Static electricity discharge, I think is what he said, and it's getting shocked," Patty Wiebe said. "I hesitated about letting them run out to get those things and I should have followed that instinct. I should have kept them in."

The Wiebe family says they hope their lesson will be a lesson to others too.

Andrew Wiebe was not the only person hurt by lightning Thursday; an 88-year-old man at a campsite at Falls Lake told authorities he felt similar pain the 6-year-old did, but he too wasn't seriously injured.

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