Man struck by lightning says incident was 'test of faith'

Quick facts:

  • Fong Yang was struck by lightning over the weekend.
  • He and his brother recalled the incident Monday.

A Tulsa man and his brother say they stared death in the face last weekend when one of them was struck by lightning on the Arkansas River while they were fishing.

Fong Yang and his brother Robert were in the water with their fishing poles when an unexpected thunderstorm moved in to the Tulsa area, and before long, Robert saw his brother Fong out of the corner of his eye become inundated with a flash.

That flash was a lightning strike.

Fong told FOX23 he didn’t remember being struck. He only remembers fishing before the incident and waking up in an ambulance, but Robert, his brother, says he remembers everything and thought for a while his brother was dead.

Robert said his brother’s body was extremely hot to the touch when he grabbed him with both arms and tried to pull him out of the water while screaming for someone to call 911.

Robert said he believes a small prayer he prayed in the river for his brother’s survival brought Fong back from being nearly dead, and he and Fong believe that last weekend’s incident with the lightning strike was a test of their faith that they’ve come out stronger.

Fong said he doesn’t remember seeing any bright lights or visions associated with a near death experience, but he does have the physical marks of what happened to him.

Fong has a burn mark where the lightning entered through his hand, likely where he was holding his fishing pole when he was struck, and his body is very stiff with full-body muscle pain.

FOX23 asked to see the fishing pole he was holding, but we were told that the graphite pole disintegrated in the heat of the strike.

Robert recalled seeing the charred pole become ashes in the river. There is no exit point that could be found because the two men were in the water.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 1 in 960,000 people are struck by lightning every year and only 10 percent of people die from being struck by lightning, but 90 percent of them end up with a long term physical disability.

Fong’s doctors do not expect any long term complications.


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