Zach Sandy: killed by lightning; now alive and well!

Press release: July 13, 2012
For immediate release.


Parkersburg, WV – On Wednesday, July 11, 2012, 18-year-old Zachary Sandy was struck by lightning and was without pulse or breath for somewhere between 20 to 40 minutes.

The lightning strike happened on a baseball field in Parkersburg, WV that was being used by a church-sponsored youth camp. Several others who were on the ballfield were also knocked down by the lightning, but other than Sandy, none was seriously injured. The blast literally shook the ground. Pastor Tisdale, local to the area, was among those knocked down. His wife was also impacted by the blast. Their son, a young preacher named Caleb Tisdale, was taken to his knees by the strike. Along with others, the young Tisdale, who knows CPR, rushed to Zach, who was laid out and stiff as a board. Tisdale said that smoke was literally coming from Sandy’s mouth and body; an image he said he will never forget. Sandy’s shirt showed burn marks and smelled like it had come from a furnace. The lightning had blown holes in the young man’s tennis shoes as the electricity exited his body. The hair on the back of his head was singed and burned where the lightning entered his body. He had broad, red, track marks and second-degree burns caused by the lightning having traveled through his body. His cell phone was fried, its screen shattered, a cover blown off, and some buttons partially melted. Immediately both prayer and CPR were implemented.

Sandy was not breathing, and he had no pulse. Tisdale performed CPR on his friend until being relieved by paramedics, who arrived about 15 minutes later. It was not until sometime after Sandy was loaded into the ambulance and was on his way to Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital in Parkersburg that he finally displayed a faint pulse. By the time he arrived there, he had been intubated (put on a breathing machine). He had a stable heart rate. There was talk of airlifting him to either WVU Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, WV or the West Penn Hospital Burn Center in Pittsburgh, PA. However, a helicopter could not be procured at the time. So, he was taken by ground to Morgantown. There a crowd of family, church members, and other friends had gathered, and an impromptu prayer meeting was held. Sandy was flown from there to West Penn Hospital Burn Center.

Within hours, prayer support had been registered from over 30 states and two foreign countries. The very next day, the tube and breathing machine were removed, and Sandy spoke, drank, ate, and walked. The following day, doctors reported that all neurological tests had come back normal, and that as soon as Sandy’s muscle enzymes returned to normal, he could be discharged and sent home. Both family, church, and friends agree that there is no other explanation but a miracle. At the Christian Apostolic Church in Clarksburg, WV, Sandy’s pastor, Rev. Doug Joseph, stated, “Thus far, each and every prayer has been answered. At first we were cautioned that he might suffer brain damage from being under CPR for so long without a pulse. Everyone prayed and the Lord answered. Then we were cautioned that his kidneys might not work properly or that other internal organs could be damaged. Again the Lord heard prayers. We were warned that burns caused by lightning strikes almost always grow worse over time before they get better. His burns did the exact opposite. We’re all elated and thankful for the great touch of God bestowed on this precious young man.”

In lieu of flowers and gifts, the family encourages donations to the Zachary Sandy Medical Fund to help cover medical expenses. Donations can be submitted via mail, online, or in person. Details are available at:


For more info, contact:
Pastor Doug Joseph
Christian Apostolic Church (UPCI)
Clarksburg, WV
(304) 629-1196

Note: Photos, updates, links, etc at