Six Men Hit by Lightning in Faulkner County, Arkansas

By CBS News

Published 04/25 2014 09:05AM

Updated 04/25 2014 09:08AM

QUITMAN, Ark. -- Doctors say it was likely one single bolt of lightning in Faulkner County, Arkansas that sent six gas field workers to the emergency room Thursday.
"All of them are very shocked and amazed and very grateful that they made it through," says Dr. Brent Ryals. 
"They came in with some first degree burns, mainly where the skin was touching their clothing.  One patient had a laceration and another had a ruptured eardrum."

Four of the men were taken to hospitals in Little Rock and Conway while the other two were self-admitted with minor injuries.
"The four that got transferred by ambulance were in a room that the electricity conducted down to so they all had an injury that was pretty close to where the bolt was," says Ryals.

The men were working on a Southwestern Energy drilling site about 8 miles south of Quitman.
A spokesman for Southwestern couldn't comment on why the men were on the rig during the thunderstorm, but did say they were employees of a third party vendor.

"A couple were thrown back against the walls and they had some heat related injuries with that.  The other two that walked in were on the rig itself so they were just kind of pushed back a little bit.  They didn't have a direct injury."

While Dr. Ryals does expect the victims to make a full recovery, he plans to monitor two of the victims' internal organs for at least twenty four more hours.

"That's part of the problem with electric burns in general.  Sometimes you can have injuries that aren't apparent on top so that's why we admit them into the hospital, keep them under observation, and make sure it doesn't look like anything comes up throughout the night."

(KTHV for CBS News)

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