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Survivor after being struck by lightning in Place Lafayette shares her story

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When Amber Escudero-Contostatis regained consciousness a few days after being struck by lightning, bad the feeling that there were other victims.

So 28-year-old grabbed her iPad next to her hospital bed and typed “Lightning Strike DC” into Google search. She saw the headlines that three people died and one man had survived during a storm near the White House. But that was until she saw two familiar faces in photos that she upset.

“I just remember that you read the article and were like’There is no way,’ ” she said in interview on tuesday with Washington Post. “But then I looked at photos of old couple.”

Officials say Escudero-Kontostathis is over up huddled together with couple – Donna Mueller, 75, and James Muller, 76 – and 29 years old.year- old Brooks A. Lambertson, bank official in city ​​from LA like a storm swept in on August 4th. But Escudero Contostatis told her last memory spoke with Mullers, who we in DC to celebrate their 56th wedding anniversary earlier in the day.

Strangers huddled under a tree. Then lightning struck.

Escudero Contostatis approached them as part of of her work with International Rescue Committee, campaigning area for donations help refugees in Ukraine. They are connected over Muller home state of Wisconsin, where Escudero-Contostatis recently traveled. for a family reunion and joy of Escudero-Contostatis remembers visiting the Green Bay Packers stadium.

She recommended checking out National Museum of History and culture of African Americans and the word planet while in COLUMBIA REGION

AT next What did she know, said Escudero-Contostatis, she was lying in hospital Bed, with IVs piercing her body. Picture of Mullers were now flashing on her ipad. They were killed, the article says. Somehow she survived.

In the days after lightning struck Place Lafayette, Escudero-Contostatis learned live with second moderate burns down her left side This feeling like “10,000 grains of the sand is trying to pass through every pore at the same time.” But guilt of surviving the lightning strike that killed the Mullers and the Lambersons haunts her.

Escudero-Contostatis said she didn’t remember the minutes before the strike but was worried she signaled for Muller to join her under a tree to shelter from the rain.

“My biggest fear is that I called back out to them,” she said. “I could not live with myself, if so. This is my biggest fear because I wanted say hello” one more time before they left”.

She experiences similar anguish over Lambertson, vice president of City National Bank. Escudero-Contostatis said she didn’t remember talking with him that day, but she has since learned that they share mutual friends from California.

“I have this guilt of, “Why did I do this?” she said. “I’m trying to calm down with gratitude of”Well, I did, so I’m not going to waste it.” ”

Four victims of lightning strikes were brought together by accident – three out-of-citizens and Escudero-Contostatis, standing together near the presidential residence. home.

It was Escudero Contostatis. 28th birthday and it’s getting close to the time for her birthday dinner in Hamilton while the storm was raging in.

Until 6:00 p.m. on the same day declined a call from sister-in- law and nieces, who wanted to wish happy birthday to her.

“AT work Rn @thewhitehouse ! Dinner tonight!” she wrote from her Apple Watch.

She then received out her phone and took two pictures of in sky, with dark clouds are approaching.

“Went from feeling like 105° all day (literally based on on my weather application) and then thunder will strike, ”she wrote to her sister.in-law, adding a laughing-crying emoticon.

After about an hour, she and three others finished up shelter from the pouring rain under a tall deciduous tree about 100 feet from the statue of Andrew Jackson, officials said. Experts have recorded a flash of lightning in in area as six individual bursts of electricity hit same point on earth inside half a second.

“It shocked the whole area”, – said an eyewitness to The Post. “Literally like bomb off it how it sounded.”

All four were taken to the hospital. Authorities soon it turned out that the Mullers had been murdered. The same was true of Lambertson, whose father described him as “probably best man i know”.

Heart of Escudero Contostatis also has stopped, with her husband 12 minutes before picking her up up for dinner. But two nurses visit the White House on vacation hurried to help. They did CPR on all four victims along with law enforcement.

It is not clear why only Escudero-Contostatis survived.

Numerous storms with frequent flashes of lightning in in region that Thursday night with temperature in mid-upper 90s earlier in day.

Experts warn that standing under a tree in such conditions can be dangerous. When the tree hit According to the National Weather Service web page, due to the electrical charge, moisture and sap easily conduct electricity and carry it to the surrounding earth. on lightning science.

If electricity hit a tree first, according to experts, hundreds of millions of the volts would have passed through the tree before going into and over body of those below it.

What happens when lightning strikes – and how stay safe

Escudero-Contostatis, who taught English in The Middle East inspired her to help those who suffered from war and poverty, thinks that her shoes could help her escape. That day she was wearing sandals with thick rubber soles, which she said could absorb some of electricity.

She wore the same platform shoes back to Place Lafayette on Monday when Good Morning America was filming her reunion. with nurses she trusts with saving her life.

Escudero Contostatis stood under the blue sky. on grassy park outside of White House, using walker. Jessie Bonti and Nolan Haggard, Texas ER nurses. who performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on wounded in explosion, came up to her.

“Hi, I’m Jessie, can I give hug you?” Bonti said, who Two weeks ago, she felt Escudero-Contostatis’s hand squeeze her before she lost her pulse. on two separate cases.

“Hi, I’m Amber. Yes, please,” Escudero-Contostatis replied before wrapping her bandaged arms around the woman. who saved her.

That night, Escudero Contostatis and her husband went to Hamilton for dinner for the birthday she never had. They brought Bonti and Haggard with them.

“Now we are literally best friends,” she said. “They will in my life forever.”

William Wang contributed to this report.

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Tyler Hromadka
Tyler Hromadka
Tyler is working as the Author at World Weekly News. He has a love for writing and have been writing for a few years now as a free-lancer.

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