Officer describes saving couple from vehicle struck by lightning
Breanna Karstens-Smith, CTV Edmonton
Published Friday, June 6, 2014 3:49PM MDT
Last Updated Friday, June 6, 2014 6:43PM MDT
A couple is crediting a Strathcona County RCMP officer for saving their lives after their pickup truck was struck by lightning as they were travelling down the highway.
On Saturday, Al and Betty Perry were driving along Highway 14 near Tofield, Alberta when out of the sky came a massive bolt of lightning. It hit their silver Chevrolet pickup truck instantly filling the vehicle with smoke.
“It’s an awful feeling to have,” said Al. “I saw our lives passing before my eyes.”
The airbags deployed and the metal body was rippled by the heat. Parts of the truck were completely melted. Al said he believed the electrical system inside the truck was destroyed as the doors and windows were locked and would not open.
“I put my two feet up against the window and I tried to kick the window out…I don’t know how many times I’ve tried and tried and tried,” he remembered.
The entire ordeal was captured by a security camera. The footage shows the truck come into view before the lightning bolt strikes, engulfing the vehicle in a fireball. Flames then shoot out of the back of the pickup. It is a freak occurrence also witnessed by an RCMP officer a few hundred metres away who just happened to be passing by.
“I’ve never seen anything like that. I’ve seen them off in the distance, hit trees before, but never like that,” Constable Brian Jamont told CTV News.
In the surveillance video, Constable Jamont pulled up to the truck in his unmarked police vehicle. He jumped out and rushed to the pickup truck.
“I couldn’t see in the cab of the truck, it was full of smoke,” Constable Jamont said. “As I approached the driver’s side, the gentleman inside was trying to kick the window out. He couldn’t get it kicked out.”
The Mountie used his baton to smash out the window. He said he jumped back in case there was fire in the vehicle. When the smoke started to dissipate he was able to help the Perry’s out of the truck.
Doctors told the Perry’s the bolt doesn’t seem to have affected them in any physical way. Al believes the smoke could have killed them though and credited the officer from saving them from suffocating.
“One thing I know for sure, I will take this to my grave…if that police officer wouldn’t have been there, we wouldn’t be here,” Al said assertively.
Just days after the terrifying ordeal, the couple celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary and will now look forward to many more.
With files from David Ewasuk