Lightning strikes car in Rutherford
Raw vision: Driver escapes unharmed after lightning strikes a moving ute in Rutherford on Thursday.
Few people struck by lightning live to tell the tale, but even fewer write the whole thing off as a strange stitch-up by their workmates.
It’s a club so small and unusual it may include only Jason Tait, of Weston in the Hunter region, who did both within minutes.
His newfound claim to fame came surging down from the heavens over Rutherford about 4pm on Thursday as he shifted a mate’s ute out of the hail and under shelter.
Survivor: Jason Tait, left, and Tim McDonald. Photo: Jonathan Carroll
“We started moving some of the cars under cover,” Mr Tait said.
“When the hail really started coming down he asked if I could move his car.”
Longtime colleague Tim McDonald filmed the hail on his phone while Mr Tait drove colleague Ken Marvin’s utility off the street.
The footage became more interesting in a flash as lightning scorched the sky, spraying sparks off the ute’s black twin cab and arcing to a nearby power pole.
Footage from Mr McDonald’s phone shows the car barely breaking its pace despite the dramatic strike, which appears to hit the passenger side roof.
Mr Tait happily concedes that he was calm through complete ignorance of what had happened rather than nerves of steel or a cool head.
A flash through the back window was all he saw from the driver’s seat metres away from where the lightning hit.
Mr Tait said he felt more like he had been photographed than struck by lightning, and would likely have written the whole thing off as a bad prank without photographic evidence.
“I’ve seen a flash out the back window but that was it,” Mr Tait said. “I was a bit shocked when I actually saw what happened. I honestly thought those guys were stitching me up.”
The full pyrotechnic display inspires audible wonder from Mr McDonald as Mr Tait appears to shrug it off.
“It was absolutely amazing, he was a little bit oblivious to it,” Mr McDonald said.
Mr Tate says he is grateful for his lucky escape despite his early doubts.
“I’ve still got two legs and a heartbeat,” he said.
The incident resembles the 2013 Bar Beach strike that left Wickham’s Wayne Lennan with a damaged car, a sound resembling a shotgun blast ringing in his ears and a viral video.
Mr Lennan escaped the incident without any injury.
Mr Tait joked on Friday the video gave his planned bragging extra punch. “I’m going to milk it,” he said. “Especially if it’s in the paper.”