Utah teen hospitalized after Maryland beach lightning strike

Posted at 7:02 PM, Jul 12, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-13 00:04:49-04

PARK CITY, Utah - A Park City teen is hospitalized in Maryland after he and a friend were possibly hit by lightning on Wednesday night.

19-year-old Conner Benson, a graduate of Park City High School, was on a beach in Annapolis, Maryland, when a storm rolled in. He and his friend Alex Steele were on the beach trying to gather up boats when lightning struck nearby, sending them both into cardiac arrest.

"You felt this jolt and then you heard the crack like it was almost like your entire body just shook, and the next thing I knew I was kind of screaming and running back to the house, and I really wasn't thinking, i was just moving," said Jamie Martin, Conner's girlfriend, who was nearby when the bolt struck.

Jamie's father and others performed CPR until paramedics arrived and took both young men to the hospital. Doctors put them in a medically-induced coma and cooled their bodies to prevent brain and tissue damage.

Doctors began to pull Benson and Steele out of the coma on Friday morning, and both are already awake.

"They weren't anticipating any activity by either one of them until tomorrow morning. Both of them now have fully awakened. They're very, very weak. but they're very responsive. They recognize their families," said John Benson, Conner's father.

Conner is on an internship in Maryland and is staying with the family of girlfriend Jamie Martin.

The Benson family is familiar to medical issues with Conner. He has been dealing with type 1 diabetes and seizures since age three.