RELATIVES of a woman who was struck by lightning and left lifeless for 20 minutes say she has made an incredible recovery.
Simone Newman was walking around and joking with family in her hospital room on Friday – just two days after being hit by lightning at Cairn Curran Reservoir, near Maldon.
The lightning bolt struck her on the top of her head as she stood on the bank of the water Wednesday night.
The force of the shockwave left her friend Nikki West, who was standing five metres away, thrown to the ground.
Simone’s partner Kory and Kory’s father Paul West rushed to Simone’s aid.
Mr West said they had been monitoring the incoming storms and were on their way out of the water when the bolt came out of nowhere.
“There was no bang,” he said.
“The lightning wasn’t near us at that stage. I just heard someone say Simone’s been hit.
“She went rigid. Her face distorted and she fell flat to the ground.”
Mr West said he went straight to give her CPR.
He said it was the assistance of a stranger – Mandy Herd – that helped Simone survive.
“Mandy turned up and said ‘I can help’. She took over and did a great job.”
“She checked Simone after about 15 minutes and said there was still no pulse... We’re blessed that we’ve got Simone here today. She is one lucky girl.”
Ms Herd said she had been in her car when she saw Simone get struck by lightning. She said she acted on instinct and ran to offer assistance.
“We probably started mouth-to-mouth within 60 seconds of her hitting the ground,” she said.
“I sort of instructed Paul. He did the mouth side of things and I did the compressions.
“I said to him, 'OK this is it. We’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing'.
“About 20 minutes in she coughed and her eyes rolled and she was back.”
Ms Herd there was an overwhelming sense of relief when Simone showed signs of life.
“At the 15-minute mark she still didn’t have a pulse and I thought she really was gone. Then her eyes moved and I just thought, ‘thank God’.”
Ms Herd said afterwards she “quietly disappeared into the crowd”.
“I didn’t really want to stick around. I’d done all that I could and there was no need for me to stand and watch any further.”
She said it was a surreal experience that seemed to last for hours.
“I’m just so glad I acted when I did. It’s a good reminder to everyone – don’t be frightened to have a go at first aid. It can save someone's life.
“Thank goodness the outcome has been so great for her and her two children.”
Simone, 27, of Macedon, has had her three-year-old and five-year-old children by her side in hospital over the past few days.
Ms Herd said she was hoping to have a reunion with Simone, once she was out of hospital.
A Bendigo Health spokesman said Simone remained in a stable condition on Friday night.