back to article iPod saves lightning-strike teen

An Essex teenager struck by lightning escaped the worst effects of the 300kV shock thanks to her iPod, the Daily Mail reports. Sophie Frost and boyfriend Mason Billington, both 14, were unwisely sheltering under a tree on playing fields in Rayleigh when the bolt struck. Critically, the earphones of Frost's iPod were "hanging …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    Let's buy this MP3 player then :P

    As others probably don't have such conductive capacities (at least according to crAPPLE)

  2. Jon 84


    A good response by Apple to Nokia's announcement the other day that they were researching the possibility of trickle charging their mobiles using ambient EMF wave energy.

    Apple might want to turn this one down a bit. Fast charging is all very well, but this seems a bit excessive.

  3. Anonymous Coward


    did the ipod survive?

  4. Tom 15


    The real story is that a 14 year old Essex girl is more worried about her iPod than her boyfriend losing his eyesight? Oh how I miss Chelmsford.

  5. A B 3

    Not the bloody trees...

    If you are caught in a thunderstorm, try to take refuge indoors. Stay away metal pipes and electrical outlets.

    If you are caught outside, duck and cover. Waiting till a bolt strikes... then run... then duck again. Wait. Try to find some low ground to head to. Then run again.

    N.B. If you feel static electricity building up near you DUCK immediately.

  6. John Macintyre

    appreciation for life

    "Mind you, the only thing Sophie was worried about was that her new iPod was frazzled."

    Glad to know she's happy she's not dead. Reminds of this girl who was running through a station for her train talking to someone on the phone. Slipped over, phone fell apart, old guy goes to help her up, first thing she does it grab the phone and say 'hello, you still there?'. Guy who helped her says 'well I guess she's not concussed then' and walks off. Priorities, humans!

    flame.. well lightning... it's near enough!

  7. Andy Watt

    Divine retribution?

    You'd think anyone using a relative device of the SaviourPhone would be immune from lightning strikes... unless Satan's been doing his usual obfuscation work

  8. mark 120
    Thumb Up

    Is it just me

    Who is sat here giggling at the mental image of '... the earphones transmitted the electrical current into his head."?

  9. My8bits

    That is a truely shocking story...

    I wonder if she was an AC/DC fan? "Whoa baby, baby, thunderstruck

    You've been thunderstruck, thunderstruck........."

  10. Scott Mckenzie


    ... only a few days ago her Nan managed to buy an iPod Mini, a product that ceased production many years ago!

  11. richard 69
    IT Angle

    can i ask..

    in a lightning storm, is it better to stand in the middle of the field or under the tree?

  12. DAN*tastik

    Or is it "Teenager struck by lightning because of his iPod?"

    i am not an expert of lightning psychology, but maybe they try to strike ipone owners first if there's one nearby?

  13. armyknife
    Jobs Halo

    The guy in the middle should have had one.

    If only our lord saviour had had one of these in AD34 ?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Praise the Lord

    It truly is sent by jeebus

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You forgot another iPod lightning case

    In 2006 you covered another iPod lightning case as well... In Colorado

  16. Nenya


    What model/size was the iPod? Did it survive? What music did she listen to that wasn't good enough to keep listening to and made her remove the headphones?

  17. Mark Rushforth

    If it had been an iPhone.....

    They've probably got an ap for lightning measurement!!

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Might made it worse...

    It's possible that the earphones might have made it worse. When the tree was hit by the lightning theres a huge current traveling through it, and a huge magnetic field around current that might have induced current to the headphone cables which zapped the teenagers.

    Its quite possible that without earphones the kids might have gone unscathed, just scared exrementless.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    avoid trees

    @richard 69

    it is my duty to tell you "in the middle of the field". There have been many horrific instances of lighning striking a tree and essentially exploding the damn thing; spraying basically tree-shrapnel. You wouldn't stand a chance.

    @A B 3

    I know it's not really a laughing matter but watching you in a thunderstorm would be bloody hilarious.

  20. Peter Ford

    Re: can i ask...

    You should crouch down in the middle of the field - make your self smaller than the trees...

  21. Peter Revell
    Thumb Up

    can i ask

    Lie down in the middle of the field in the foetal position.

    Some years ago my wife and I were caught out in the middle of dead flat coastal dunes in Norfolk in an electrical storm that lasted 10 minutes The only refuge was in mortar bomb craters about 15 inches deep. ( It was a WW2 training ground ). We lay in one each with dozens of lightning strikes on the shingle around us. I don't want to be as terrified again.

  22. Ray0x6

    300kV right into your head?

    OWWWWWWWWW. Just goes to show, you should never, ever wear in-ear phones. And the sound quality of those Apple own-brand jobbies is just terrible.

  23. Mark Greenwood


    Erm, the fact that if she hadn't been wearing a 2 foot length of conductive wire in a thunderstorm she probably wouldn't have been struck at all seems to have escaped everybody but me. Am I missing something?

  24. vincent himpe

    what ?

    so the tiny little stranded earphone wires can conduct 5 million amps of current when the field collapses ? I got some people here who want to talk about that ...

    If it proves anything it is this : ipods take a way common sense from young people. Any kid older dan three knows they should not shelter under a tree in a thunderstorm , especially if that tree is the tallest object around. Ipods make people dumb(er)

  25. brimful

    @vincent himpe

    Hang on, I thought ipod users were richer, happier and better educated?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If it's out of production then it was probably used. Supported by:

    A - it's in Essex

    B - her nan bought it, who likely isn't overly technical or up on gadgetry.

    Re:iPods make you dumb

    No, being an Essex chavette holding hands with your Essex chav BF makes you dumb. Well dumber, considering we're talking about Essex.

  27. Rob Beard

    Shocking but...

    Did she wake up to find she was trapped in her boyfriend's body and vice versa?


  28. Anonymous Coward

    Future Followup

    After looking at the pics, the next thing on everyone's mind is...

    Will she be (like other Cheltam girls) be featured on Page 3 in four years?!

  29. SaneCentral


    How did they come up with the value 300kV?

    Lightning is measured in kA.

    Did they happen to be standing next to a field mill?

  30. Anonymous Coward Silver badge


    "Hang on, I thought ipod users were richer, happier and better educated?"

    You're thinking about iPhones, not iPods.

    But seriously, in a thunderstorm if you're stuck outside somewhere with no chance of sensible lightning protection, crouch as though you're shitting... if the lightning passes through your body and out your arse it's less painful that coming out of your feet! Sticking your right arm in the air also helps - the lightning won't then pass through your heart (same reason that when you're working on HT circuits you keep your left hand in your pocket!)

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Saved?

    Good, not just me then. I seems more likely to me that she was struck *because* of that nice conductive wire, rather than it saving her in any way.

    Apart from anything else, there's no way that wire could have transmitted a significant amount of power without melting anyway.

  32. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge


    The tree was more likely to be the major lightning attractor than the iPod. Or its earphone wires. Trees have been being hit by lightning for, well, probably as long as there have been trees. (And lightning, though I'm guessing the lightning came first.) People have been killed hiding under them for centuries. Maybe millennia. How many do you think were wearing iPods all this time?

    How do you think the tree compares as a lightning rod to a short length of wire that's not even grounded?

    I seriously doubt the wire was a significant factor in attracting the lightning. So ease up on blaming the iPod.

    Me, I blame the parents.

  33. Sarah Davis

    myPods - is there anything they can't do ?

    "When my gran stood up to light the stove she fainted match in hand. Luckily her trusty myPod was there to save the day. Not only did put out the match, it actually cooked a resoto, then massaged her feet until she came round, and then made her a cup of tea - thankyou myPod!"

    "My kitten was lost and i was very unhappy. Then my myPod went out and soon it found her stuck in a tree less than half a mile away"

    "I was under the car changing the clutch when the make-shift stand gave way. It was all i could do to hold the gearbox off my chest but i had no room to manovure. Just then my trusty myPod went out and purchased an electric hydrolic jack, lifted the gearbox off my ribs, and while i recovered from my exhaustive experience it fixed my clutch for, put all the tools away and tidied up afterwards. After that we became best friends and have been dating ever since"

    "Last year I fell into an industrial blender which killed me severing several of my limbs and head. Luckily my myPod acting with incredible speed and inginuity and was able to preform extensive microsurgury and15 minutes later i was walking around as if nothing had happened. Five minutes after that i was conscious and in control. My myPod bought out the company and expanded it into new fields, I left to persue a quieter life, but i'll never forget my hero, my myPod!"

    you know how some people suffer from empty headedness,.. no real thoughts of there own, they adopt other peoples ambitions, other peoples wants and desires, they couldn't tell style from a fart hanging in a tree, they have no internal dialog at all EVER, and never say anything they don't think !! Well the new myPod can now cure this. It's TRUE !! Wearing the new myPod will make you think you're so cool that you won't notice that others think you're a wanka and it will fill your empty headed silence with bland music that someone told you was cool. It's over priced too so you'll actually believe you're getting something of quality. It comes in 'Mug-me White' or 'Uncool Black' and is garunteed to be worth at least 50% of the R.R.P.

    mines the one with the samsung in the pocket!

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Jumping Jack Flash

    It's a gas gas gas!

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Is no-one else appalled by his name?

    I mean, "Mason" as a forename?

  36. bothwell

    @Sarah Davis

    Seriously, it's just an MP3 player. iPods are popular because they're stylish and they work well. If you're happy with your Samsung then that's aces to you, but that doesn't mean there's anything mentally wrong with people who make choices differently to you.

    I use a Creative Zen, myself, btw, just before the inevitable "OMG APPLE FANBOI" comments arrive.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Darwin Award ...

    Anyone who hides under a tree in a thunderstorm deserves everything that's coming to them.

    Has no one heard of common sense? Oh wait ...

  38. Daniel Wilkie


    Did anyone see the picture from the link on the next story down about the house struck by lightning? Wow...

    I'm assuming if you're somewhere near trees in a lightning storm, the same drills as for hand grenades would work, drop to the ground facing the trees. Of course you're not wearing a helmet so perhaps facing away would be better. Only then you're going to get tree shrapnel up your arse instead... Catch22 really!

  39. Anonymous Coward

    Faraday's at its best...

    The fact she was wearing the earphones around her neck (presumably) was perfect. If she wasn´t wearing them, most of the lightning would have hit the tree (this is good) but it might be enough to cook the insides of the said tree to point of explosion (this would be BAD) turning it into a shrapnel warhead. Since the wire diverted some of it from the tree, perhaps it didn´t blow up by a lucky shot. It appears the bolt was shared between all three "objects" in the field: her, the bf, and the tree.

    She wasn´t wearing the earphones at the time, which ensured any larger amount of the current would have NOT flowed into her head.

    The pictures (on the source page) are much more revealing:

    The ipod's wire turned to aluminum dust (heheh copper, whatever), along with a path cut in her t-shirt and a red burn down her neck. You can notice the shirt was cut in half in some points.. All the possible amount of current was diverted through it until it was ultimately destroyed, and perhaps if it was any thicker she wouldn´t have her neck burned or injured at all, minus the ear drums blasted to oblivion (now she can buy earphones 50% off along with a new iPod?). I bet the ipod is toast. The wire worked as a lightning rod for the most of her chest. But I just stated the obvious.

    Another thing: she's quite a looker... I would date her under a tree in a thunderstorm any day...

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