Monday, 10 December 2007
The Plod Zapped
There's an interesting story in today's Toowoomba Chronicle. I was out Mitchell way a few weeks ago, but had a much less eventful drive.
Mitchell police survive electrifying ordeal
By Maree Butterworth
When Mitchell police Sergeant Craig Shepherd and Senior Constables Debbie Cousins and Glen Fletcher saw trees getting hit by lightning at Arrest Creek 5km south of Mitchell they knew they had to get out of there. Sergeant Shepherd began to drive along Mitchell-St George road and just as they were questioning whether cars could actually get hit by lightning, about 12.30am their question was answered.
“The lightning bolt hit the car aerial, which is about 10 foot high, a steel aerial. The whole car turned orange and sparks flew all around,” Sergeant Shepherd said. The officers had been checking floodwater levels after five storms. had recently passed through but never thought their patrol would be so eventful. It was like slow motion. “The windscreen cracked in two places where the aerial bent over and the aerial was melted into the windscreen”, he said.
“My hair stood up and I asked the others if it (my hair) was on fire. It was like something had grabbed the car. I’ve seen a lot of freaky things in my time but I’ve never seen that.”
Apart from the three officers’ skin feeling on edge, hair standing up and their ears ringing, they fortunately escaped virtually unharmed with an interesting tale to tell their colleagues. It was something you never saw in your life and I hope we never see again” he said.
The lightning bolt passed through the aerial of the four-wheel drive and into the engine bay which caused complete disruption of the vehicle’s electrical equipment. Because they were concerned about their safety and in an open area with lightning still around them they had to crawl back into town with the car lights and sirens uncontrollably blaring.
Concerned they would disturb the residents of Mitchell in the early hours of the morning they managed to disconnect the engine and the car described as “dead” was later towed away to Roma.
It's not reported as to whether any of the police involved now have super powers.
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