Lightning Strike Victim Speaks Out - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Lightning Strike Victim Speaks Out

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The 23-year-old woman who was struck by lightning in Glacier National Park one week ago said she's thankful to be alive.

Now, the young woman is recovering from serious injuries at her parent's home near Huson.

Kinsey Leishman said the lightning strike happened on an ordinary day while hiking with her friend Travis and an 11-year-old boy he was mentoring.

She said it was the quick reaction and determination of a math teacher from Georgia that saved her life.

Kinsey Leishman said she was taking pictures with 23-year-old Travis Heitman of Kalispell, and 11-year-old Cadence right before the weather took a dark turn.

"Travis said it was going to storm, and we needed to get out of there, and then I don't remember anything," Leishman said.

Leishman said the next thing she remembers is waking up in the Kalispell hospital with a foggy memory.

"And it's just, surreal to look back and know that you're still alive," she said.

But, so much happened during the short amount of time she was unconscious.

Steven Keith, 49, said "All of a sudden, there was one thunderclap that just hit immediately, so that kind of freaked everybody out a little bit."

A few minutes later, Keith said he rounded a corner with his brother and niece.

"And we saw two bodies lying on the trail," he said.

Keith said his first thought was that lightning had just killed two people.

"The skin was completely pale and waxy in appearance," he described.

Keith said his brother Glen ran to get help, while he and a woman named Beth administered CPR to Leishman and Heitman.

"I just tasted the electricity in the saliva," he said.

After the Leishman and Heitman began breathing again, Keith said Beth noticed Cadence lying a short ways off the trail.

Keith quickly performed CPR to revive Cadence as well -- a skill he urges everyone to learn.

"You may be put in a situation where it's one thing that's going to keep someone alive," Keith said.

Keith and Leishman have spoken with each other since the accident, and both said they'll share a special bond for the rest of their lives.

"You never in a million years think you're going to get hit by lightning and… there was just people there, for some reason… I don't know, I mean they weren't even going to go that way, and for some reason they did and they found us in time, so I'm just thankful for everybody that was involved," Leishman said.

The Leishman family and Keith are still searching for the woman named Beth who saved Heitman's life, and hope to contact her one day.

The Leishmans said they plan to have a celebration of life with the Heitmans and Cadence in Polson in about a month.

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