Lightning strikes plane at Florida airport, badly burning worker – National

Surveillance cameras at an airport near Tampa, Fla., captured the moment a bolt of lightning struck an airplane – and badly burned an airport employee standing next to the plane.

Austin Dunn, 21, suffered third-degree burns to most of his body after a Sun Country plane he was working on was struck by lightning at Southwest Florida International Airport on July 22.

“We knew he wouldn’t give up,” Dunn’s sister Autumn Dunn told NBC-2 News in Florida. 

“Once we knew he was alive. It was a relief but it was definitely the scariest thing, you don’t expect it.”

READ MORE: PEI farmer mourns 10 cows lost to lightning storm

The incident occurred as Dunn and two other members of the Southwest Florida International Airport were working on a Sun Country plane.

The plane was backing up as it prepared for takeoff, with Dunn working under the plane’s right wing.

Suddenly, a bolt of lightning strikes the tail of the plane, the electrical current travelling through the metal fuselage and into Dunn, who collapses immediately.

Dunn was rushed to Lee Memorial Hospital with third-degree burns to the majority of his body, as well as a host of other injuries including nerve and brain damage.

“Austin is sleeping a lot and mending physically and mentally, then Friday we start treatments up here in Tampa for his third-degree burns on his hand, and possible nerve damage surgery,” his father Kyle wrote in a GoFundMe page raising money for his treatment.

The worst damage, according to Dunn’s family, is to his hand where the electricity first made contact.

Southwest Florida International Airport officials told local media that the lightning warning system at the airport was activated at the time of Dunn’s accident.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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