TUNKHANNOCK TOWNSHIP — “It’s just one of those things you think is never gonna happen.”
Travis Rauch of Salem Township is out of the hospital, but still in disbelief.
He was one of 10 people hit by lightning at Pocono Raceway over the weekend.
“The entrance was right here, came all the way across to my pinky finger here and a little spot on my thumb from where I was holding onto the canopy,” said Rauch, showing burn marks on his right hand from where doctors said the lightning entered his body.
Rauch was holding a canopy that started blowing over in the parking lot near where Rauch and his friend had parked when the bolt struck late Sunday afternoon.
Rauch said heard a loud bang and saw a pure white flash.
“When I was holding it, it felt like someone took a sledgehammer with electricity, like a 220 line and just smashed my hand,” said Rauch.
Rauch is a volunteer firefighter with emergency medical training and was at the track with a friend, another volunteer firefighter with the same training.
That friend quickly gave Rauch two sternum rubs before he was taken to the track trauma center and then to Geisinger Wyoming Valley, where he met his family.
“I cried I saw my son for the first time, I cried, just to see them, more or less so they knew I was alive and I was ok. “
Rauch was wearing sneakers when he was struck. Doctors told him those sneakers probably saved his life by insulating him and stopping the electricity.
Rauch said he knows just how lucky he was.
“I never believed it until that moment, when they say your life flashes before your eyes, it really does. When I was on the ground, all I remember is I saw everything bad and good I ever did in my entire life. I mean, it was probably the most emotional moment I ever had when I got to see my wife and my kids, you know? It’s a life changer, it makes you look at you an go at any moment, you never know when you’re going to go or your ticket is going to be pulled.”