FRESNO, Calif. - The odds of getting struck by lightning and surviving are just one in 13,000, but one lucky family in Tulare County lived to tell the tale. Two weeks ago on Labor Day, Christopher, 12-year-old Aidan, and 9-year-old Nadia Lovera set out on the family's first backpacking trip. They were fishing near the lake when clouds moved in.
"That's where pretty much where our combined story ends, and after that, it was waking up to an individual scene of trauma," Christopher said.
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From across the lake, a couple shot video capturing what happened next. A streak of lightning came crashing down on a tree and sent Christopher and his two kids airborne.
"We all blacked out, and we didn't hear anything either," Aidan said.
Aidan and Nadia woke up first and ran to find their unconscious father.
"When I first saw dad, I thought he was dead because I didn't see him breathing or moving," Aidan said.
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Rescuers quickly arrived and airlifted the family to safety. Christopher suffered second-degree burns. The lightning also ruptured his and Aidan's eardrums.
The force also tore the clothes off their bodies.
"It's very visceral seeing the red, orange just flash down the tree and the explosive power of it hitting the ground," Christopher recalled.
It goes without saying the Lovera's are lucky, but not for the reasons you think.
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"If I have to feel lucky about something, I feel lucky I had amazing people around that took care of my kids and me," Christopher said. "I was in a pretty dark place and those people pulled me out of it."
Every day, they're learning more from the people who risked their lives to help.
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