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Swedish girl zapped by lightning twice

Karen Holst · 20 Aug 2011, 09:47

Published: 20 Aug 2011 09:47 GMT+02:00

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After dinner 12-year-old Alice went downstairs in the basement to take a shower when her parents heard her scream.

Seconds prior to the child’s outburst two loud claps of thunder had suddenly cracked outside and the rain began to pour.

Alice had been struck by lightning in the arm but her parents did not immediately understand what had happened.

The child’s mother, Cecilia Svensson, immediately went downstairs and began to help wash her daughter’s hair when Alice screamed for the second timed.

“She screamed again. She was holding the metal shower hose while rinsing off,” Svensson, who at this point still did not understand what was happening, told local newspaper Göteborgstidningen (GT).

A phone call to an expert on the radio provided clarity.

Although nothing else was damaged in the house, the flash lightening must have struck and travelled, live, through the pipes.

Story continues below…

“It could have gone badly,” said Svensson, who also said she learned as a child not to shower during electrical storms but that this localized storm erupted quickly.

Karen Holst (kholstmedia@gmail.com)

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Your comments about this article

12:32 August 20, 2011 by muscle
damn I hope the girl is mentally and physically fine now. Hmm this is the first i came to know I shouldnt shower while its thunderstorms or raining outside :S...
13:11 August 20, 2011 by Lee_kina
hope the girl is good!
20:53 August 20, 2011 by charubun pananon
Luckily, the girl is not the real lightning conductor, God save the girl.
05:20 August 21, 2011 by OMaHTLD
It's shocking how many accidents there are in bathrooms.......
08:01 August 21, 2011 by hereandnow
I always thought it was common sense not to take showers or baths during a lightning storm. I guess not :/ You would be surprised how far lightning will travel before it finally gets grounded.
10:21 August 21, 2011 by usa_mom
Growing up in Texas with severe thunderstorms, I have always heard that it is not safe to shower during storms. So glad the little girl is okay!
02:38 August 22, 2011 by Da Goat
water is a very poor conductor (unless it is dirty) so she is quite safe that way, the pipes in the house need to be grounded better !

the local just a bit of wisdom, light travels faster than sound so people writing this article appear brighter before they open their mouths (put pen to paper)!

you will get the shock before you hear the thunder not afterwards!!

mostly you only get an induced charge in the wires and pipes as the lightning flashes past which hurts but is not dangerous, but finally a Swedish girl who knows how to conduct herself properly LOL.
10:32 August 24, 2011 by pbogue
Sounds like electrical grounding is in order. The girls parents should have the house inspected and at the very least put up a lightning rod!
15:38 August 26, 2011 by tadchem
When lightning strikes it does not magically disappear when it reaches the ground. The energy spreads out *through* the ground at near the speed of light until it has dissipated. A friend in Texas who has a ham radio station watches storms approach by monitoring the electrical pulses lightning makes through the ground.

Never touch metal plumbing during a thunderstorm.
19:58 August 26, 2011 by mikewhite
All metalwork in the bathroom should be at the same potential via zero-ohm links, and then to a buried earth, to avoid getting shocks like this. In the UK at least.

Don't know what the SV regs are though.
16:05 August 27, 2011 by Exolon
@Da Goat:

"mostly you only get an induced charge in the wires and pipes as the lightning flashes past which hurts but is not dangerous, but finally a Swedish girl who knows how to conduct herself properly LOL. "

Haha, that made my morning :D
23:06 August 30, 2011 by Philscbx
All Electrical is grounded to plumbing, therefore shock if any part of grid is hit.

Tip- Water is very conductive in high voltage.

Who ever said it's not, is mental.

Use only plastic plumbing in bath with no portion of any surface conducting current.

It's no difference than peeing on electric fence.

03:46 September 1, 2011 by Skaperen
One side effect of lightning that hits mains power wires is that it can also cause the mains high voltage to come to ground, even through the lightning bolt itself. If the wires break and come down to ground, the ground voltage rises. But if the wires don't break, that voltage in the mains can still come to ground through the ionized path the lightning created. While the current from lightning would normally flow deeper into ground, the current from the mains does not. The mains current flows in paths that get back to the mains neutral wire. That can only happen where the neutrals are grounded. And that is often in the plumbing of a nearby home.

There is a myth that electricity seeks the path of least resistance. The truth is that electricity takes all paths in inverse proportion to the resistance.

Grounding electrical neutral and plumbing together is still a correct thing to do. Not doing so makes things worse. What this girl's home may have wrong is plumbing not cross connected to drains. There needs to be a heavy, corrosion resistant, wire from the hot and cold pipes to the drain pipes. Or every pipe needs to be plastic of one of the forms commonly available.
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