PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - The chances of being hit by lightning are 300,000-to-1. A student and a teacher at Pascagoula High School are wondering how they both ended up becoming part of those unlikely odds. Both were in class Tuesday when a lightning bolt struck the building, and both have agreed to share their stories.
Pascagoula High sophomore Andrew Panni, 16, and business, economics and marketing teacher William Denton were sitting in class when their lives changed in a flash.
"I rolled my chair over to here and I sat down. As I was going to touch the computer and turn it off, it was like a big bright light went off," said Denton. "Then, I felt like a really intense feeling in my legs. Then, I thought, 'Crap. I just got shot.' Then, I checked my legs and I was looking around to see was there blood or anything like that."
Denton had not been shot. Lightning had struck the school building and traveled down the wall. Andrew, who was sitting a few feet away, also felt the impact.
"All of a sudden, a giant blue flash came right down this wall and a giant boom hit," said William. "Next thing I knew after seeing that, I'm back here in the chair. It knocked me back, apparently. All I saw was blue flash and next thing I'm back here."
After yelling for his students to move away from the computer, Andrew says the reality of what happened began to sink in.
"William was asking me if I was okay, and it was almost like I was in shock and couldn't answer him right after him," Andrew said. "Immediately, muscles were locking up and tingling and went numb. So, took a good 10 to 15 seconds to start settling down and acknowledge we're okay. We're all alive."
Denton said when he thinks back on how the situation could have turned out, he feels blessed.
"The doctor said it could have been really, really bad for what it was. He said, 'You could have died by the strength of that bolt,'" said Denton. "I just think that God was over me and He protected me through what I was going through. That's the main thing. My faith is what I've always rode on. That's what guided me thorough everything that was happening."
Denton said the pain from the shock was incomprehensible. Doctors checked out both Andrew and William who said they suffered some soreness, but will have no long term health effects.