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UPDATE | Titan Farms worker struck by lightning back home

(WRDW)
Published: Jul. 6, 2016 at 5:59 PM EDT
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UPDATE

Saturday, July 9, 2016

RIDGE SPRING, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A representative from Titan Farms says the man struck by lightning on July 6th.

According to the representative, the man was released from Augusta University around noon on Saturday.

He is now back on Titan Farms with his family and friends helping him.

That man was one of four who were struck while working on the farm.


Thursday, July 7, 2016 |

UPDATE: 6:00 p.m.

RIDGE SPRING, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A Titan Farms worker is still fighting for his life after lightning strikes him and three of his colleagues while working on a peach farm.

The man still in the hospital has just been upgraded from critical to serious condition.

Thursday the sky is clear above the rows and rows of peach trees, but when you live in the hot, humid South, that can change in a minute.

Wednesday, four workers were struck by lightning while picking peaches in the fields.

"This happened to be in one of our largest wide open fields. It's over 200 acres, just nothing but open farm land," Food Safety Practitioner Hap Carr said.

Carr says at the first sight of lightning, employees are supposed to immediately board their bus. He says that's what they were trying to do when the lightning hit.

"As I understand it, they were just in the process of, their procedures are to get them in the buses. The first lightning strike hit in the vicinity of four of them, and one was hit directly," Carr said.

We still don't know their names, but Carr says all four employees were Hispanic working under the H2A Temporary Agriculture Program. It's a program that brings people over when there aren't enough U.S. workers to fill seasonal jobs.

To cover the 6,000 acres of farmland that stretch across three counties, Titan Farms needs a lot. Carr says over 80 percent of their workers come back each year, and they've become family.

"Our employees are very, very emportant to us, and they're our number one priority," he said.

Carr says they train their employees to watch the skies, and back at the office they have weather radar to track pop up storms.

While I was there, they got an update that the man in the hospital has no internal damage. It nearly brought Carr to tears.

"Possibly if he doesn't have any internal damage, then he's going to be able to fully recover from this," Carr said choking up. "Makes us feel good. I told you these people are like family to us."

Carr says in a couple days they'll get the whole crew together to do an after-action report to ask if there's anything they can learn from this or anything they need to change. He says the farm has never had a lightning strike like this before.

Three of the workers are out of the hospital, and the man still in the hospital has been upgraded to serious condition.

Edgefield EMS says they're not sure where the lighting went in, but they say it exited through the worker's abdomen.

Titan Farms is asking for prayers of recovery for the man they consider family.

"The power of prayer will see us through this," Carr said.


Thursday, July 7, 2016 |

UPDATE: 3:02 p.m.

EDGEFIELD COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- All four workers hit by lightning were under a program that allows companies to bring migrant workers to the U.S. after proving there are not enough workers to fill all the jobs needed, according to Titan Farms.

The workers were under the H2A Temporary Agriculture Program. According to the Department of Homeland Security, the company must offer a job that is of a temporary or seasonal nature.

Titan Farms is over 6,000 acres and sits in the corner of 3 counties including Edgefield, Aiken, and Saluda and it stretches from Batesburg to Trenton. Farm officials have said all the workers were in one their largest fields when they were struck. The field is 200 acres of wide open farmland.

According to Edgefield EMS Director, the lightning strike exited through the worker's abdomen. The man remains in critical condition at Augusta University Medical Center. Titan Farms said the victim in medically induced coma, but have confirmed he has no internal injuries. The three other workers were treated and released.

Buses transport workers to the peach fields. Titan Farms said their protocol for thunder or lightning is to get back to the buses. They were in the process of getting back to the buses when they were struck.

Titan Farms said it trains its employees to watch the sky, and they have weather radar back at the offices to keep an eye on the weather. If there's no severe weather, and it's just rain, they might just keep picking. Only stops when it gets dangerous.


Thursday, July 7, 2016 |

11:24 a.m.

EDGEFIELD COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A man in critical condition is in a medically induced coma but does not have any internal damage after being directly hit by lightning, according to a representative for Titan Farms.

The victim is a male, Hispanic worker in the area on a visa. Three other victims who were released are also Hispanic workers. The father of the victim in critical condition is with him at the hospital, according to Titan Farms.

Officials say the strike happened on Luke Bridge Road at Titan Farms Wednesday afternoon.


Wednesday, July 6, 2016 |

UPDATE: 9:22 p.m.

EDGEFIELD COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Three of the lightning strike victims have been treated and released from the hospital.

The fourth victim is still in critical condition, according to Denise Parrish with Augusta University Medical Center.


Wednesday, July 6, 2016 |

6:55 p.m.

EDGEFIELD COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Edgefield County dispatch says four people struck by lightning were all struck on the same road.

A dispatcher said the strike happened on Luke Bridge Road at Titan Farms earlier Wednesday.

Four people arrived at the emergency room of Augusta University Medical Center Wednesday afternoon, according to a hospital official.

Two people are in good condition, one is in fair, and one is in critical condition, according to Denise Parish with Augusta University Medical Center.

News 12 NBC 26 will continue to update you as that information becomes available.