Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Cellphone is a lightning magnet

A week ago, I read that:

Lightning might pose a threat to people who use mobile phones outside during a thunderstorm, according to a case study reported in this week's British Medical Journal.

A trio of senior London doctors recount the case of a 15-year-old girl who was struck by lightning while using her mobile phone in a large city park during a storm.

The girl had an instant heart attack but was revived in time. She lost all memory of the incident, although the lightning strike was witnessed by other people.

A year later, though, the patient had become wheelchair-bound, suffering from physical, cognitive, and emotional problems as well as a badly perforated eardrum in the left ear, the side where she had been holding the mobile phone.

The physicians, Swinda Esprit, Prasad Kothari, and Ram Dhillon, who work at Northwick Park Hospital in northwest London, say they found three press reports of people being killed by lightning while using their mobile phones outdoors. These incidents took place in China in 2005, in South Korea in 2004, and in Malaysia in 1999.

No similar cases have ever been reported in medical literature, they noted.

Any risk from a mobile phone would come not from the radiation that it emits but the metal components it contains.

The US National Weather Service says on its website, that cellphones are safe to use "because there is no direct path between you and the lightning."

Today I read that:

Lightning strikes Quezon village chief dead
By Delfin Mallari Jr.
Last updated 05:58pm (Mla time) 07/04/2006

LUCENA -- The village chief of San Vicente, Tagkawayan town in Quezon province was fatally struck by lightning while using his mobile phone Monday afternoon, police said Tuesday.

Senior Police Officer 1 Justino Legaspi, Tagkawayan police investigator, identified the victim as Reynaldo Magpantay.

The victim, who was talking to someone on his cellular phone, was overseeing the survey of a portion of his village in the company of the municipal agrarian reform officer when lightning struck him, Legaspi said. (emphasis supplied)

Perhaps people should read news from the Internet more often.

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