Sunday, July 23, 2017

NavStar employee struck by lightning at Southwest Florida International Airport (KRSW), Fort Myers, Lee County, Florida

FORT MYERS, Fla. -  A ground worker at Southwest Florida International Airport was taken to the hospital Saturday after a lightning strike.

It happened shortly before noon when the bolt reportedly jumped from a Sun Country plane to the worker, according to Vicki Moreland, spokesperson for Lee County Port Authority.

The man who was struck has been identified by family as Austin Dunn.

Moreland said he was alert and conscious before being taken to Lee Memorial Hospital. Dunn's family said late Saturday he was transferred to Tampa General Hospital. His condition has not been released.

Dunn is employed by Navstar, an independent contractor for "under-wing handling."

Moreland said the airport's lightning strike warning system was activated prior to the incident as heavy storms moved into the area.

The strike impacted flights, causing slight delays as emergency crews responded.

Annette Polletta was waiting for her son after his flight from Indiana was delayed due to weather.

"I've been seeing lightning, big lightning strikes across outside," she said.

"That really upsets me. You know, they're out there working and doing what they're supposed to be and then they get hit."

Others like Brian Keith, who was flying into the airport, had to wait on the tarmac.

"We were delayed when we hit the ground. We had to sit there for 10 minutes before a gate opened up," Keith said.

Flights at RSW have returned to normal.

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