Bountiful man survives lightning strike

Posted at 4:53 PM, Aug 12, 2012
and last updated 2012-08-13 00:06:36-04

BOUNTIFUL, Utah - A Bountiful man survived being struck by lightning while fishing in the High Uintahs last month.

24-year-old Ferren Rice was on day two of a three-day camping trip with his 19-year-old sister Amber and black lab Jovie on the last weekend in July. They were fishing at Amethyst Lake when a storm rolled in and lightning filled the sky.

As Rice started packing his gear to get out of the area, he felt a surge in his spine and fell to the ground, paralyzed. Amber says she saw the lightning strike hit.

"I heard this loud crack and saw a ball of orange next to his shoulder," Amber said.

When he fell, she started CPR and called for help. Other campers heard her screams and called 911.

"I was just paralyzed, I only had use of my right arm and head. There was burning and I had no control over it," said Ferren. "I had stopped breathing, I couldn't breath. Had she not given me CPR I wouldn't be here, I'd be dead up there."

Ferren's dog Jovie died after taking most of the energy from the bolt.

"I think she took the blunt of it. I think she saved his life," Amber said.

Paramedics arrived and airlifted Ferren to the University of Utah Medical Center where he was treated for second- and third-degree burns.

He says lightning hit his leg and exited through his feet and shoulder. He suffered serious injury to his shoulder and underwent skin graphs. On his feet are two black wounds where the lightning left his body.

See photos of Ferren's wounds in our gallery. Warning: Graphic content.