Nine-year-old Jordan Banks died when he was fatally struck by lightning as he took part in a football coaching session watched by his stepfather, an inquest heard today.
Jordan’s stepfather Daniel Begg witnessed the moment lightning struck the child, who instantly fell to the ground, but nothing could be done to save him.
Coroner Alan Wilson said: “This was an extremely rare occurrence. Although the weather has changed, it had changed very quickly and there appears to be no obvious reason why Jordan was struck by lightning.”
He added: “All evidence indicated that once Jordan had been struck by lightning this was effectively going to be unsurvivable.”
Jordan had been training in a one-to-one session on a pitch in Blackpool when the weather suddenly turned from bright and sunny to thunderstorms.
The inquest at Blackpool Town Hall, which Jordan’s family did not attend, heard that Mr Begg had been in his car watching Jordan training on the pitch on School Road when lightning struck shortly before 5pm on 11 May.
Mr Wilson said: “He sadly reports he saw lightning hit Jordan and he [Jordan] fell to the ground straight away.”
Football coach Daniel Stenton, who was taking the session with Jordan, said in a witness statement he had decided to wrap-up the lesson when thunder started.
“All of a sudden I felt something. I can’t begin to explain it but it made me put my hands on my head.”
He said he had gone to pick up a ball when he noticed Jordan on the floor and his stepfather running towards him.
“I didn’t know what was happening,” his statement read. “Everything was happening very fast.”
Emma Gleeson was waiting for her son’s session to finish when she saw a flash of lightning hit Jordan.
She said: “Daniel [Begg] clearly was thinking the same thing I was thinking, and was saying ‘He’s gone, he’s gone.’”
The inquest also heard a statement from paramedic Sharon Riley-Clarke, who arrived within two minutes of Ms Gleeson’s 999 call.
She said when they arrived she saw Mr Begg crouched over Jordan and he shouted to them: “He’s not breathing.”
Ms Riley-Clarke added: “He picked him up in his arms and was running to us.”
The inquest heard Jordan arrived at Blackpool Victoria Hospital at around 5:30pm but was pronounced dead at 5:55pm.
Consultant paediatrician Dr Kate Goldberg said the death was due to cardiac arrest following a direct lightning strike.
Jordan’s family were praised for their “dignity and courage” in choosing to donate Jordan’s organs.
In May, Jordan’s father Matt Banks said the decision saved the lives of three other children.
A statement from Met Office scientist Alan Day was read out to the inquest. He said possible thunderstorms had been forecast but no severe weather warning was issued as the overall risk fell below the levels required.
Mr Wilson said he planned to write to the government’s department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and bring the matter to its attention.
He said: “If a reminder about the risk lighting can pose is circulated and this somehow minimises the risk that this could occur again then that would be positive and avoid another family having to go through this sort of tragedy.”