Local News

Florida-Bound Bus Struck By Lightning In Benson

Posted August 21, 2001

— Two people were injured Monday night after a Florida-bound Greyhound bus was struck by lightning as it travelled on Interstate 95 near Benson.

The bolt hit the driver's side of the bus.

Passengers say that the driver, Adisson Hayes, 39, remained calm throughout the ordeal. He was able to pull the bus off the road before collapsing. The incident happened around 8 p.m.

Hayes, and a female passenger who was sitting behind him, were treated for minor injuries at Betsy Johnson Regional Hospital in Dunn.

The lightning left a dent on the side of the vehicle and shorted out the engine.

About 50 people were on the bus headed from New York to Jacksonville, Fla. The passengers were transferred to another bus to complete their trip late Monday.

While a vehicle is typically a safe place to be when lightning strikes, that is not always the case.

"If your hands are touching anything that can serve as a conduit to the outside, or if your arm happens to be resting on the window or on the dials of a radio that are attached to an antenna, to the outside, then you can draw electricity to yourself that way," says Rod Gonski of the National Weather Service.

Gonski says another important point is the steering wheel.

"The steering wheel is connected to the drive axle and all of that metal around the engine. Your two hands on the wheel can serve as a circuit," and electricity may run up one arm down the other and down the steering column to the outside.

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