God held an Oklahoma family together during a situation that many people do not survive, said a Tulsa man and his brother after one of them was struck by lightning on the Arkansas River while they were fishing over the weekend.
Fong Yang, and his brother Robert, told Fox News they were in the water with their fishing poles when an unexpected thunderstorm moved into the Tulsa area. Fong said they had checked the weather predictions before going on the fishing trip, but Oklahoma's "bipolar weather" surprised them.
Robert said he saw out of the corner of his eye his brother, Fong, become inundated with a "white, orange flash." He realized lightning had struck him and heard a boom sound. He said the impact threw him to the side of his boat. "I knew instantly, the bolt had hit my brother."
However, Fong said he didn't remember being struck. He only remembers fishing before the incident and waking up in an ambulance. Robert, however, remembers all of the details vividly, including how he thought his brother was dead.
Robert said his brother's body was extremely hot to the touch when he grabbed him with both arms, and tried to pull him out of the water while screaming for someone to call 911, reports Fox News. He said he found no pulse in his brother's unconscious body.
Robert said he believes a small prayer he whispered in the river for his brother's survival brought Fong back from being nearly dead, and that he and Fong believe the incident was a test of their faith -- an experience they believe has strengthened their faith.
"He (God) really was testing me, to see if I really had faith in Him, and to see what I believed in my heart," said Robert. "And he answered my prayer, and brought my brother back."
Fong said he doesn't remember seeing any bright lights or visions associated with a near-death experience, but he does have the physical marks of what happened to him. A burn mark where the lightning entered through his hand is visible, and his body is very stiff with full-body muscle pain.
"God was on my side. I know He (God) helped me out. That's why I'm still here," said Fong.
Fox News reported they asked to see the fishing pole Fong was holding, but was told the graphite pole disintegrated in the heat of the strike. Robert said he recalled seeing the charred pole become ashes in the river. There is no exit point of the lightning strike that could be found because the two men were in the water.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 1 in 960,000 people are struck by lightning every year, and only 10 percent of people die from being struck by lightning, but 90 percent of them end up with a long-term physical disability.
Robert said he thought Fong would be paralyzed forever, however Fong's doctors told them they do not expect any long-term complications from his incident.