Recorded last year in Posadas, Argentina, the clip below shocked YouTube viewers worldwide as they watched a 12-year-old boy playing with an umbrella beneath a gutter’s rain-spout during a thunderstorm… suddenly, the air itself seems to explode around him as a massive lightning bolt strikes, and the camera operator can be heard screaming in horror before the footage cuts off.
Though it was never verified as to whether the boy was hurt, a frame-by-frame analysis posted in Popular Science seems to confirm the electrical bolt missed him… but only by a few feet.
“It was so close that, even if he wasn’t struck directly, he could have been seriously hurt by residual current,” the article notes, alongside a detailed breakdown of the clip at one-tenth playback speed.
“As you can tell, there were several ‘return strokes,’ which are visible as three super bright flashes in the footage,” which illustrates that the main strike was “likely a negatively charged, cloud-to-ground lightning bolt.” The author points out that negative discharges are typically less powerful than positively-charged strikes — which can measure at an epic one billion volts.
Still, despite the danger of residual current, the nearby swimming pool and its cement rim may have prevented the charge from traveling too far along the ground. For that poor kid’s sake, I hope that theory is correct…