Man struck by lightning at Miami Motocross Park

Woman at park performs CPR on rider, says Miami-Dade Fire Rescue


HIALEAH, Fla.A man is recovering in the hospital after authorities say he was struck by lightning at Miami Motocross Park in Hialeah.

Jethro Alfonso and a group of riders were practicing Saturday at the park, located at 16665 Northwest 177th Avenue.

Riders were out on the track when they spotted bad weather out in the Everglades. It was at that point when they said they began to clear the track, but one of them was struck by lightning.

"The weather looked like it was out in the distance at the time," said rider Adam Pankoke. "It didn't look like it was anywhere close and that it was going to pass out."

Friends said Alfonso was at the front of the pack and about to get off the dirt track when a bolt of lightning threw him off his dirt bike.

"Far and out of nowhere, that lightning bolt hit and it was a surprise to everyone," said Pankoke.

Pankoke was on the race course when instructors began calling everyone in.

"It wasn't like there was lightning around," said Pankoke's mom, Mary. "It was literally the first strike."

For a few terrifying second, Mary feared her 17-year-old son was the one who had been hit.

"I didn't know where Adam was exactly when I came back to the track and I couldn't find him right away," Mary said.

"I was saying my prayers afterwards and counted my blessings," said Pankoke. "I was so blessed to be here right now and that it wasn't me."

Two firefighters hired by the park in case of an emergency were on duty Saturday afternoon, as an instructor ran out to get them.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue officials said a woman at the park, who was also a rider, performed CPR on Alfonso until help arrived.

"She must have seen him get hit and she immediately started to give CPR, so thank God for her too because I'm sure that saved his life," said Mary.

An instructor was able to get the firefighters onto the muddy track.

"The two firefighters that were there are extremely qualified paramedics," MDFR said in a statement released Saturday. "They were also equipped with the most advanced technology and medical equipment."

Alfonso was later airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital. His friends said he's recovering and is lucky to be alive.