911 call released after woman struck by lightning at Columbia airport

911 call released after woman struck by lightning at Columbia airport

WEST COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - WIS has obtained several documents through the Freedom of Information Act that sheds further light on the response after a passenger was struck by lightning.

On June 27, a U.S. Airways passenger was struck by lightning while on the Tarmac at Columbia Metropolitan Airport.

The flight from Hartford, Connecticut to Charlotte carrying 75 passengers, was diverted to Columbia because of bad weather, but as the US Airways flight unloaded onto the Tarmac, a 52-year-old female passenger was struck by lightning.

Radar image pulled from the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research website shows a storm in the area at the time the plane unloaded, even though an airport incident report says, "The weather appeared to be clear with dark clouds approaching."

In a previous interview, an ER nurse aboard the flight, who spoke to WIS under the condition on anonymity, said she had big concerns with the incident, because she believed the whole thing may have been prevented if different actions were taken. She didn't feel first responders were adequately prepared either.

The airport told us that wasn't true and that its first responders likely saved the woman's life.

New documents suggest the airport first responders got the call at 6:02 p.m. One responder arrived a minute later, then another arrived about six minutes after.

The reports say the passenger was unconscious and went into cardiac arrest about 17 minutes later, it continues to say EMS took 12 minutes and 6 seconds to respond after they were dispatched.

For the first time we're hearing the original 911 call too.

"Lexington County 911. What's your emergency?

CALLER: Hey, umm, I'm here at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport, and we need an ambulance. We have a passenger that's been struck by lightning.

DISPATCHER: Yeah, it's actually coming over the radio here now. We're going to have it on the way, okay?

CALLER: Okay. DISPATCHER: Yes sir, bye."

As far as the patient's condition, she was last reported to be in a stable condition about a month ago.

There have been no updates since then.

Neither the airport nor American Airlines, the operator of US Airways, could comment any further at last check.

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