by: Tina Terry Updated:
BURKE COUNTY, N.C. - A man said he was struck by lightning at a campground near Morganton and is lucky to be alive.
Mark Gilbert was camping with his family at Steele Creek Park in Burke County. He said he was outside when a strong line of storms moved in and lightning struck him to the ground in what seemed like a split second.
"It was just a loud clap of thunder, and then I was just getting up off the ground," Gilbert said.
He was walking and talking just hours after it happened.
He said as soon as the storms started, he climbed up on a picnic table to try to save his tent from the rain and wind. As he reached out to grab the tent's metal base, he said, that's when it happened.
"It was just a big charge of electricity going through me really," Gilbert said.
Gilbert was thrown off the table and landed several feet away.
He said he grabbed his heart and tried to talk, but could not. His son found someone to call 911.
During the 911 call, a woman told the dispatcher, "There's a young man. All we know is there's someone in one of these campers holding their chest that says they got struck by lightning."
Emergency workers rushed Gilbert to the hospital, but he was released a few hours later with only bruise on his foot.
Now, he's back with his family and grateful to be alive.
Gilbert said he had some sore joints and some nausea. His family said they would continue to closely monitor him over the next few days.