Moment storm chaser nearly struck by lightning
A storm chaser was thrown onto all fours after a lighting bolt struck from behind clouds, hitting a power pole near him, creating a "flash of blue", a "deafening roar" and sending sparks flying up the transformer.
About 4am on Thursday Stormscapes Darwin founder Mike O'Neill had finished setting up his camera along Kirkland Rd northwest of Palmerston when a lightning bolt struck a power pole about 34m away.
"When the bolt hit all I saw was a large blue flash that didn't seem to go away," he said.
"I got thrown onto my all fours. All I could hear was a deafening roar and I could see sparks and stuff flying up the transformer (power pole).
"It lasted less than a second but it seemed like minutes on the ground."
Once the ordeal was over, Mr O'Neill got into his car and waited about 20 minutes to retrieve his camera.
He said the strike was called a "bolt from the blue" which leaps out the side of a thunderstorm.
Mr O'Neill explained the clouds covering the storms hid the danger.
"Because I couldn't see it, I just didn't know what was there and almost paid the ultimate price for it," he said.
The storm chaser was cleared by his doctor but was still stocked by the experience.
"It was pitch black, there was a car driving past and all of a sudden brilliant, electric blue," he said.
"It felt like being smothered with a bright blue light in your eyes. When it stopped I was a bit deaf for a minute, I couldn't hear anything."
He wasn't deterred by the experience and planned to return to chasing, but urged others to be mindful of storms.
"Be aware that lightning is so dangerous," he said.
"Check your radar and if you hear thunder seek shelter. If the kids playing in the playground or swimming get them out. It's just a bit of commonsense.
"If you're walking on the beach near thunder just check the radar see how close the storm is. Cut your walk short and go back in your car."
Last year six people were injured from a lightning strike in Central Australia.
They were watching the sunset from a viewing platform at the Ayers Rock Resort when the lightning struck but weren't directly hit by the bolt.
Two of the six people injured were flown to Alice Springs Hospital by the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the others treated at the scene.