‘My shirt was melted to me’: College freshman struck by lightning on first day of class

PENSACOLA, Fla. — A young woman is lucky to be alive after she was struck by lightning while attending her first day of classes at the University of West Florida.

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Emma Eggler, 18, told WKRG that it was a rainy afternoon at UWF and she was walking through trees after leaving her math class.

“I didn’t really feel anything at all, I just woke up on the ground,” Eggler told WEAR.

When she woke up, she initially thought she had fallen and didn’t know what had happened.

“I didn’t realize that I had been struck by lightning,” Eggler told WKRG. “I was more embarrassed because I thought I tripped and fell on the ground. Then, I realized I couldn’t move, I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t do anything.”

Eggler had collapsed onto the sidewalk after lightning struck her in the chest.

“My shirt was completely open because of the lightning strike,” Eggler told WEAR. “It melted to me.”

The shock wave of electricity traveled through the left side of Eggler’s body, causing her watch to explode and burning a hole in her left sock and sneaker, WEAR reported.

Nelson Libbert, a senior, ran over to Eggler and called 911 while talking to her to help her calm down.

Libbert told WEAR he told Eggler: “I would be freaking out over this but you’re so strong, a strong freshman. I know this is a tough first day but believe it or not, you’re going to make it through this.”

When Eggler made it to a Pensacola hospital, doctors told her she was lucky.

“All of the doctors were in shock,” Eggler told WKRG. “They told me I needed to buy a lottery ticket because I was very lucky. They told me that the lightning went through really close to my heart.”

“We definitely feel like God performed a miracle for her,” Eggler’s mother, Erin, told WEAR. “That is the only explanation for why she is still with us.”

Eggler told WKRG she plans to return to classes next week.