BRAINERD, Minn. (WCCO) — A weekend at the lake turned into a terrifying experience for a Minnesota teenager — after he was struck by lightning.

It happened at a cabin near North Long Lake in Brainerd. Monday night, the 15-year-old boy says he’s sore, but otherwise, just fine. WCCO’s Jeff Wagner shows us how it happened — and why the teenager feels extraordinarily lucky.

A trip to the lake for Corey Wilmer’s family usually means fishing, tubing and riding the jet-ski. What happened Saturday was never part of the plan.

“It still hits me every once in a while that I got hit by lightning,” Wilmer said.

He says he was lying awake on his bed as a storm passed overnight when a lightning bolt hit the roof of his bunkhouse, sending a charge through the wall, his bed and him.

“The most odd burning sensation going through my whole body and the lightning itself lifted me off my bed,” Wilmer said. “And I looked at my bed and it was on fire.”

After dousing it with water, he ran into the cabin and found his stepdad, who woke up from the bolt’s explosive sound.

“Then Corey came in and said ‘I just got struck by lightning.’ I’m like no you didn’t and he’s like well I had to put out a fire with the water bottle. And I’m like ok I better go check that out,” Edwin Griego, Wilmer’s stepdad, said.

“Then he took off his shirt and I saw the spider marks on his left shoulder. I’m a paramedic and you only see that in textbooks,” Griego said.

Worried about his heart, Wilmer spent half a day in the hospital.  The bunkhouse had its own scars: A blown out window, hole in the roof and cracked siding.

“And then we had debris that was blown out past the cars,” Griego said.

After surviving a lightning strike, you’d think Wilmer might buy a lotto ticket or count his blessings. Instead, he went back to his normal weekend plans: Fishing and enjoying the lake.

“I’m just happy I didn’t get the entire strike because the doctors were saying if I would have got the whole bolt this would have been a completely different story,” Wilmer said.

A shocking story at that – in more ways than one. Since the lightning strike – Wilmer has gotten a few new nicknames from his family: Flash – Bolt – Thunderstruck. They’re just not sure yet which one will stick.

Jeff Wagner

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