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Lightning strikes boat off Jupiter

Posted at 7:02 PM, Jul 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-25 11:22:31-04

A couple from Bradenton and their friends went on a fishing trip off the coast of Jupiter on Saturday when their boat got struck by lightning.

"It was just this loud noise and a bright flash," said Billy Alstrom.

The group was watching some storm cells in the distance but thought they were far enough away from it.

"You just don't think that it will be happening to you," Alstrom said. "As soon as the lightning hit my rod, my rod blew up and burst into flames."

Alstrom posted pictures of the fishing rod on his Facebook and the post quickly went viral.

His girlfriend Emily Coffey was sitting right next to the fishing rod when it happened.

"I just felt a very strong surge in my back and the heat started coming," Coffey said. "I just felt like I was on fire."

The jolt was so strong, it blew her sunglasses off her face.

"Everyone was just in shock," Alstrom said.

Alstrom and Coffey believe the rain jacket she put on seconds before lightning struck might have saved her life.

"We're just lucky everybody is alive," Alstrom said.

The lightning strike blew out the electronics on the boat.

"We wanted to leave but when I turned the key nothing happened," Alstrom said.

They were floating around for sometime before finally another boat came by and helped them out.

Alstrom kept the fishing rod and displays it on his wall as a reminder and a warning.