The brothers who were struck by lightning at Moro Rock

In Sequoia National Park in 1975, Michael McQuilken, 18, and his little brother Sean, 12, were climbing Moro Rock when they noticed the hair on their head was standing. They thought it was funny. Then — thwack! — a deafening flash of white light.

Minutes after the two brothers posed for this picture they were struck by lightning.

Michael, he later recalled, felt the sensation of being lifted off the ground for several seconds. Sean was burned, with smoke pouring from his back. But they were alive. Another nearby hiker, struck by a finger of the same lightning bolt, didn’t survive.

An NBC News reporter caught up with Michael in 2013. “We were from San Diego and really stupid,” he said, adding that the jolt never left him. He earned an appreciation for the precariousness of life and took up meditation. “I never was cautious before that,” McQuilken said. “Now, if I’m out to climb a peak, I’m the first person to bail if clouds gather.” 

Read more: NBC News

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