Storm-chaser tweets as he's hit by lightning

Tim Rollwagen, a Lakefield College School teacher, takes a picture of the sky on George St. on...

Tim Rollwagen, a Lakefield College School teacher, takes a picture of the sky on George St. on Thursday, July 3, 2014 in Lakefield. Tim was shocked by lightning on Canada Day while taking photos of a storm passing through Lakefield next to Highway 28. Clifford Skarstedt/Peterborough Examiner/QMI Agency

Jessica Nyznik, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:25 PM ET

LAKEFIELD, Ont — When Tim Rollwagen got hit by lightning this week, he didn't think twice about tweeting about it, until he realized that's how his wife might find out.

The Lakefield, Ont., science teacher was shocked through a wire fence when a lightning bolt struck nearby ground as he was out taking photos of a storm Tuesday morning.

Rollwagen has been storm chasing and capturing images for years, so when he was out grabbing a bag of ice on Canada Day, he stopped by his usual spot to grab a picture of the passing storm.


Lakefield College School teacher Tim Rollwagen took this photo during a storm near Lakefield on Canada Day morning just before he was jolted by lightning while holding on to a wire fence to take pictures off Hwy. 28. (TIM ROLLWAGEN PHOTO)

To gain a better vantage point, he climbed up on the fence, only to snap a quick shot before receiving the jolt, which threw him to the ground.

He said he didn't even remember the fall. But coming to, he crawled through the grass to his car.

When he stood up to get in the vehicle, he noticed an ache in his legs.


Tim Rollwagen getting checked out in hospital after being jolted by lightning while holding on to a wire fence while taking pictures of a storm near Lakefield on Canada Day morning. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

With his heart racing, body shaking and adrenaline pumping, he said he instinctually grabbed his phone and sent this tweet: "Don't hold on to a wire fence when trying to get storm pics, just got blasted off by a lightning bolt that struck it."

That's when Rollwagen realized that his wife Laura, who is eight months pregnant, might find out the news through social media, so he drove directly to her work, a few minutes down the road.

Rollwagen, 31, said the experience has definitely been a "wake-up call" and is "very lucky" that it was just a shock.

But he said he also plans to keep chasing storms.

jessica.nyznik@sunmedia.ca

 


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