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2 Men Emerge From Comas After Lightning Strike On Md. Beach

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Conner Benson
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — A remarkable recovery is underway for two young men who may have been struck by lightning last week in Anne Arundel County.

Derek Valcourt explains why their families have so much to be grateful for.

Both young men are now listed in good condition at the hospital—pretty surprising, considering the lightning strikes apparently stopped their hearts from beating.

“This is an absolute miracle. This is miraculous,” said John Benson.

Benson knows how close he came to losing his 19-year-old son Conner. When a powerful lightning storm moved through Anne Arundel County’s Bay Ridge community, Conner and his friend, 23-year-old Alex Steele of Annapolis, rushed out to the beach to secure some boating equipment. As they were standing in wet sand, witnesses say a lightning bolt struck nearby.

“There doesn’t seem to be any other indication that it was a direct strike but there was enough that it basically caused his heart to stop. He went into cardiac arrest,” Benson said.

Neighbors in the area, including a doctor, rushed in to begin CPR.

“Lifesavers, heroes. We owe them so much; we just have so much gratitude,” Benson said.

Barely alive, both young men were rushed to the Anne Arundel Medical Center where doctors chose to put them in a medically-induced coma.

“When you put them in a deep coma, the brain is very metabolic and active and by slowing the brain down to a point where it’s barely working, you decrease how much glucose it uses and hopefully decrease how much damage incurs while it did not get the oxygen or the flow that it needed,” said Dr. Keith Goulet, Anne Arundel Medical Center.

Friday, both boys awoke from the coma. Family says the boys have slowly begun to speak and walk and show signs of returning to normal.

“There’s challenges ahead of us for sure, but we literally got to see our boys come back to life to us,” Benson said.

Just Monday afternoon, both of the victims were moved out of critical care and upgraded from fair to good condition.

Conner Benson’s father says it’s possible he could be released from the hospital as early as Tuesday.

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