Cell phones and lightning

A girl walking on the beach with her friends was struck by lightning and killed yesterday.

Apparently she was carrying the mobile phones of most of her friends in her bag and the newspaper I read said that this might have been why the lightning struck her.

As it was raining, the Bhavans College students had given their cell phones, wrapped in plastic, to Sakori, who had placed them in her purse. The group were walking along the beach in the rain when they were struck.

Investigating officer Santosh Sawant and sub-inspector Salim Sheikh, who gave the group first aid, say the mobiles may have acted as some kind of a magnet for the lightning bolt.

An expert in the field did not rule out the possibility. Professor Gaur G Ray of IIT Bombay said, ““The metal casings of the mobiles could have acted as an antenna and attracted the lightning bolt. Mobile phones do emit electro-magnetic waves but it will have to be ascertained if that could have also precipitated the strike.”

This just doesn’t make sense to me. A quick Google search pulls up enough pages that explains this is just an urban legend.

What’s a likelier explanation, according to me, is that she must have been the tallest person in the group and was probably walking barefoot.

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