Lightning and Caves

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Re: Lightning Bolt Passage

Postby Komebeaux » Jun 26, 2007 9:20 pm

wvdirtboy wrote: I think the above story about a similar incident is actually this one.



The one I am referring to happened in Tennessee while they were building a gate.
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Postby Bruce Rogers » Jul 27, 2007 7:27 pm

Listeros,

Read Casteret's The darkness under the Earth (1954) for an account of several lightening strikes in the south of France. Several of these were fatal to cavers. French explorers in the first half of the 1900's remarked that the trees growing about pit entrances to deep alpine caves in the Pyrenees Mountains were gnarled and burned by repeated lightening strikes.

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Bruce Rogers, Earth scientist on a good day
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Postby Squirrel Girl » Jul 27, 2007 7:59 pm

It's not "humid" air, but completely drenched air--i.e., water filled passage, but last year I was cave diving in Fl. One day a guy on another trip, when I was back at the lodge, had his lips tingling from lightening while he was inside the cave (underwater) while a torrential thunderstorm raged above.
:shock:
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Re: Fried Underware

Postby Squirrel Girl » Jul 27, 2007 8:01 pm

Larry E. Matthews wrote:Not only did her underware really melt, she was even called up on the stage during the Awards Ceremony at the Friday Night Banquet and given an Extra-Extra-Extra Large size pair of white panities with: "I Got My Ass Fried At the 19?? NSS Convention" written on them.

Needless to say, she got a standing ovation.

It was a close call, and fortunately no one was seriously hurt or killed.

We were told that the doctor in the Emergency Room had to carefully scrape off the melted nylong with a scalpel.

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My mind has been a terrible thing to waste, since I don't remember anything about the panties!!!!
:doh:

Or maybe it's just my nature to remember things about men's drawers instead of women's.
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Re: Lightning and Caves

Postby Chuck Porter » Mar 15, 2008 7:42 pm

Nearly a year later, but I can post this reply: Margie Torncello of Helderberg-Hudson Grotto was the unfortunate lady struck by lightning at the 1988 Hot Springs, SD convention. My tent was a few feet away and several of its telescoping aluminum poles were welded together. There were also furrows torn up in the ground by the strike (and maybe even fulgurites).

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Lightning and Caves

Postby Ernie Coffman » Mar 17, 2008 2:25 pm

Ah, good memories of the '88 Hot Springs convention. We, too, were out caving and when returning, saw the ambulance leaving the campground. There weren't many folks around the campground, for it happened during the period of sessions, etc. The group that was "hit" with the lightning, were up on the hillside, overlooking the main campground; and, Barb your tent and mine were verrrry close. In fact, I still remember your pink birdie out in front of yours :laughing: so don't think you would have been involved. From what I recall, the lightning actually struck on the otherside of the hill, came through the ground--Dale probably remembers this--and came up into the tent poles, as Teresa wrote, but the strike didn't go down into the poles.

As for the Award Ceremonies, I thought each of the members in the group were awarded a t-shirt with the same saying on it, so...thanks to John, his wife, for having an entertaining rancho convention. :clap:
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Re: Lightning and Caves

Postby FrankT123 » Apr 23, 2019 11:37 am

I have to chuckle at the various renditions that I just read of the '88 lightning strike story!

I was one of the folks that was struck...my name is Frank Torncello, from Glenville, NY.
It was myself, my wife at that time, Margie, and fellow cavers Paul Rubin and Serge Tiffault (SP?)

Margie was wearing Dacron shorts and it was the shorts that melted onto her butt....

She was presented with a T-shirt at the convention dinner that "said" The 1988 NSS Convention Really Burned My Ass"!

The 4 of us all received, "I survived the Lightning Strike" T shirts...it was Margie who received that extra one....

No one was seriously hurt....I couldn't walk right, nor hear right for a few days....

Margie had the burn and some cuts to her legs from where the earth exploded in front of us.

Paul "dropped and rolled" as he initially thought he was on fire....he ended up rolling onto cactus!

Serge, I believe, got the least if it with just his hearing being "off" for a few days....

The lightening bolt actually struck the center pole of a canopy which we were all sitting/standing under during a storm...

The current from the blast welded the adjustable canopy poles together and then, once it hit the ground, it splayed out in three directions....cutting small trenches in the ground about 2" wide by 2" deep...

One path hit my feet, sending a current up my legs, the other path hit Margie's right foot, blowing a chuck out of her flip-flop...the current went up her leg, out her ass cheek and into a metal cooler that she was sitting on. That is how her shorts melted. It left the cooler, then cut another trench through the earth to the corner steel tent peg of Paul Rubin's dome tent and discharged into the tent's frame, welding a few of those pole joints together.

The third "leg" of the current went into the direction of where Paul and Serge were standing....

That's all I have on this one....!!

Frank Torncello
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Re: Lightning and Caves

Postby Squirrel Girl » Apr 23, 2019 4:40 pm

Wow, Frank! Thanks for the story! Bad enough, fortunately not worse! Thanks for posting!
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