Cases of people struck by lightning in Pa. not as uncommon as you might think

Cases of people struck by lightning in Pa. not as uncommon as you might think

A number of people have been struck by lightning in Pennsylvania in the last few years, most recently Thursday when two 18-year-olds were killed.

Brendan McGowan and Kaitlyn Rosensteel died after a lightning strike in Mammoth Park in Mount Pleasant while they were fishing. Both had just graduated from high school.

In August 2018, a 45-year-old man was struck by lightning while playing soccer in Pittsburgh's Schenley Park. Bystanders performed CPR on him until paramedics arrived and resuscitated him.

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Another instance occurred Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory in West Mifflin. A subcontractor was struck, but not killed, while holding a metal pole in the parking lot.

A Greene County woman shared her story with Channel 11 News after she was struck. Sharon Bennett said she was standing on a metal ladder finishing a paint job in her family's garage at the time.

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Cases of people being struck by lightning have also occurred in Somerset County.

Cody Sines was 18 years old when lightning hit a tree in his backyard and traveled through the ground and into his house in Shanksville. He said a "big blue ball of flame" came at him as he grabbed the handle of his electric stove.

Also in Somerset County, a woman and her unborn baby were killed by a lightning strike. Mary Yoder, 36, was nine months pregnant when she was struck in Summit Township while taking cover from a storm under a pine tree, officials said.

Yoder’s husband, who was taking cover under another tree with their two children, was also hit and slightly injured, officials said.


A New Castle man, David Rogan, survived a lightning strike in the early 2000s while he was with his family at a reunion. He was clinically dead, but his aunt started CPR and saved his life. He spent 20 days in a coma.

“Evidently, lightning struck a tree, went in through his shoulder, out through his shoe and stopped his heart instantly,” Jenny Rogan told Channel 11 News in 2016.

A Westmoreland County couple was added to the list of people struck by lightning in Pennsylvania while they were in Gettysburg. Marisue Morgan and her husband, Randy Lee, were taking part in a Civil War reenactment when a bolt of lightning hit the tent they were sitting in.

Although not in Pennsylvania, many people might recall when lightning struck a University of Dayton student from Pittsburgh. Sean Ferguson was on the Ohio college's campus in April 2015 when he was struck, leaving him with burns on 35 percent of his body and a lengthy road to recovery.