'We are walking miracles': Couple hit by lightning during severe storm

PUEBLO, Colo. (KKTV) - A Colorado couple now has a bond that makes them one in a million.

They say they were both hit by lightning during a weekend camping trip and they walked away mostly unharmed. The couple believes their truck might have saved their lives because they were both touching it when the lightning struck.

Zack and Bri Petersen tell 11 News they decided to go on a camping trip at Eleven Mile State Park Friday. Their trip ended just a few hours later when storms rolled in.

"We were starting to cook dinner and the clouds started rolling," said Bri Petersen. “We saw a little bit of lightning and decided that we might need to pack up camp.”

The Petersens started to pack up their truck when Bri grabbed a metal chair nearby.

“I picked up the chair and I was like, 'Oh, I have this horrible feeling. I feel like I shouldn’t be touching this,'" Bri Petersen recalled. "So, I just moved it out of the way and not even a second later reached out to open the truck door ... the next thing I knew, there was this big flash and I was on the ground and couldn’t move.”

The lightning sent a shock into Zack, through their truck, and then into Bri, who had just touched the passenger door.

“I came to about 15 feet away from the truck," said Zack Petersen. "I had actually gone over top of a table that was sitting behind me.”

Zack Petersen says when he opened his eyes again he saw his wife lying on the ground feet away, screaming.

"Fight or flight instinct kicked in, and I hobbled over to her and I tried to pick her up, but I couldn't. I had no muscle control whatsoever."

He somehow managed to get over to her and help. He even drove them both to the hospital 45 minutes away.

“I knew that I had been hit, but that was the last thing on my mind," Zack Petersen said. "I put the pain out of my head and everything, and I was just like, 'I have to save Bri. I have to save my wife.'”

The Petersens describe the feeling of being struck by lightning like a rush of senses through your entire body.

"You can’t feel anything at first, and then all of a sudden there’s, like horrible burning, like your whole body is on fire," Bri Petersen said. "Sharp pains everywhere and then nothing moves. You can’t move anything and it all hurts.”

Both Zack and Bri Petersen walked away with only minor injuries. Bri sprained her ankle and both have some burns.

“If I hadn’t touched the truck when I did, because the truck has the rubber on it, it would have gone right back into him and probably either blown his hands off or God knows what else," Bri Petersen said.

The Petersens can now both answer the question: What does it feel like to be hit by lightning? You can say the experience really energized their souls and given them a new perspective on life.

"I mean, we are walking miracles," said Zack Petersen.

Bri adds, "You realize how much you love the people that you love and how much they love you.”

According to the National Weather Service, the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are 1 in 1,171,000. Only about 10 percent of people who are struck by lightning are killed, leaving 90 percent with various degrees of disability.