'I feel like a train hit me.' Local man shares miraculous story of survival after being hit by lightning - East Idaho News

‘I feel like a train hit me.’ Local man shares miraculous story of survival after being hit by lightning

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MACKAY — Jacob Behling doesn’t remember a thing.

All he knows is it was Wednesday evening, June 26, and he had been off work for a few hours. The 21-year-old Rigby man is a crusher who works near mines in Mackay and stays in a camper during the week. Around ten other guys work with him and some had gathered to have dinner.

“I was eating with my boss in his camper and I left the camper to go to mine, which is right next to his,” Behling tells EastIdahoNews.com. “They told me they heard a big bang and looked outside. I’m was on the ground right up against my truck next to my camper. They immediately came outside and checked on me.”

Behling had a faint pulse but his heart stopped beating, his coworkers later told him. His boss started CPR while another coworker called 911 and ran to get an AED.

Down the road, a farmer had seen a bolt of lightning strike the area where Behling was walking.

“He apparently is an EMT too and rushed over to help,” Behling recalls. “It’s pouring rain and they pulled me underneath the front of my fifth-wheel trailer to do CPR and put on the AED.”

An ambulance arrived and Behling was taken to the Mackay Airport where he was then airlifted to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls.

Behling’s supervisors tried to contact his mom in Rigby but her phone was on silent and she was visiting her mother.

“My 17-year-old son came and got me after Jacob’s safety director contacted by husband via cell phone. He said, ‘Mom, Jacob’s been hit by lightning. He’s on his way to EIRMC,” Holly Behling, Jacob’s mother, recalls.

Behling’s parents rushed to the hospital around 7:30 p.m. and found their son intubated and unconscious. He had cuts and scrapes on his body but Holly Behling says there were no obvious signs he had been hit by lightning.

Doctors did a full CT scan which showed Behling’s organs were all functioning and he had no broken bones.

“It was kind of scary but I was just grateful his heart was beating and that he most likely was going to be ok,” Holly Behling says.

Behling was transferred from the ER to the burn unit at EIRMC and woke up on Thursday morning.

“I remember waking up and I think the first person I remember seeing was my boss and his boss asking how I’m doing and telling me what happened,” Behling explains.

Around 40 million lightning strikes hit the ground in the United States each year but the odds of being struck by lightning are less than one in a million, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Almost 90% of all lightning strike victims survive.

Jacob Behling hospital

After a four day hospital stay, Behling was released Monday to go home but he feels far from normal.

“I feel like a train hit me. My chest hurts, my head hurts, I have a hard time staying awake, I have really bad fatigue and a hard time focusing,” he says. “I can’t drive and have no appetite.”

Behling hopes to recover quickly and return back to the job site soon. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help cover expenses while he’s unable to work.

She’s thankful for the many people who helped save his life.

“I can’t begin to thank everybody enough – the whole EMT team in Mackay that were willing to go out in the middle of a thunderstorm and his boss and Joel, his coworker,” Holly Behling says. “I can’t imagine how they must have felt seeing him on the ground with lightning all around and being willing to risk their own lives and getting hit themselves to save my son. It’s just remarkable.”

Behling adds, “I owe them a lot. That’s for sure. If it weren’t for them, I probably wouldn’t be here.”

Watch our entire conversation with Behling and his mom in the video player above.

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