PENSACOLA, Fla. – A college student at the University of West Florida is lucky to be alive after being struck by a lightning bolt Monday afternoon on the first day of classes.
Authorities identified the student as 18-year-old Emma Eggler, who was found near the College of Business by witnesses.
Campus police responded and aided the freshman until paramedics arrived.
"She was conscious, alert, and talking. I checked her pulse and asked her if anything was hurting her. She advised she did not have use of her legs. Her shirt looked to have exploded/torn open and had burn marks on her chest. She had scrape marks on her wrists where the skin had torn," a responding officer stated.
Eggler was transported to a local hospital before being transferred to the University of Alabama Hospital in Birmingham for treatment.
The teen's mother said her daughter was released from the hospital late Tuesday and has re-gained feeling and movement in her legs.
"Emma is doing great! Better than we ever could have expected. Thank you for the outpouring of love and support we've seen here in Chelsea, Pensacola, and around the country," Erin Eggler posted on Facebook. "Our baby is alive by the grace of God. I'm not kidding when I say it's a miracle. The doctors have said she's lucky to be alive."
Florida is considered the "lightning capital" of the country, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates around 40 lightning-related injuries happen each year.
Experts say if you witness someone struck by lightning, immediately call 911 and then begin first aid. Victims do not carry an electrical charge, and the only threat that exists is from additional impacts from the nearby thunderstorm.