MAN STRUCK BY LIGHTNING
By GARY SMART
A MAN was in a critical condition in Tweed Heads Hospital last night after being struck by lightning at Kingscliff.
The man, in his 40s, was thought to have been standing on the observation deck of the Paradiso apartment and retail complex in Marine Parade when fierce storms hit the area late yesterday.
Kingscliff resident Nick Monk, who lives in a house behind Paradiso, said he was looking out of his kitchen window about 6.40pm when ''the whole place lit up''.
''I was timing something on the stove so I knew the time,'' he said. ''There was a huge flash and then I heard the loudest bang.
''It scared the crap out of me.''
Mr Monk said the next thing he knew someone was screaming from the top of the Paradiso for an ambulance.
''I don't know who it was, but there was screaming and I was told to run and grab the ambos,'' he said.
''I yelled out to my flatmate to call, but the Kingscliff ambulance station is only 50 metres up the road so I ran up there anyway.''
He said ambulance officers responded immediately and were at the building by the time he had walked back.
Police and Volunteer Rescue Association members were also quickly on the scene.
The man was eventually brought down from the top of the building on a stretcher about an hour later.
Mr Monk said he was certain the Paradiso had been hit by lighting.
''Some drainpipes run down the back of the building,'' he said. ''About 20 metres up, behind the downpipe, are big black burn marks about 30cm in diameter. It looks like it's gouged out a hole about an inch deep as well."
Late last night Tweed Hospital staff confirmed the man was in a critical state.