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Lives saved after lightning strike on two at Morningside Lake

By Dan Hust
HURLEYVILLE — August 3, 2010 — As Hurleyville Fire Chief Jim Kaufman put it, Devon Corbett and Laya Feiner “are very lucky” to be alive.
On Sunday, Feiner, a 23-year-old Lakewood, NJ resident, and her husband were boating on Morningside Lake in Hurleyville, one of the Town of Fallsburg’s popular parks.
Around 3:30 p.m., a thunderstorm barreled through the area, catching parkgoers by surprise.
According to the Town of Fallsburg Police Department, 21-year-old park employee Devon Corbett of Loch Sheldrake saw the couple struggling in the middle of the lake as the storm bore down.
He jumped in another aluminum boat and rowed out to them, helping them get in his boat to head back to shore.
According to Kaufman, a lightning bolt struck in their immediate vicinity at that moment, throwing both Feiner and Corbett into the water.
Amazingly, Feiner’s husband was unhurt, but Feiner and Corbett were severely shocked – so much so that Kaufman said neither had a pulse when three park lifeguards brought them to shore.
Kaufman himself performed CPR on Corbett, who was soon revived with the aid of an automatic external defibrillator. Feiner was also revived through CPR, and both were transported to Catskill Regional Medical Center in Harris by Hatzolah Ambulance and MobileMedic.
The two victims were then sent to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, where they remained yesterday morning in stable condition.
Corbett temporarily lost his sight, said Kaufman, but had since regained it.
“They’re already talking about discharging him,” Kaufman related yesterday morning.
He said Feiner, too, was making progress yesterday, having been taken off a respirator and engaging in lucid conversation.
“She’s expected to make a full recovery,” Kaufman was glad to say.
Assisted by the Loch Sheldrake Fire Department, Kaufman praised emergency responders’ efforts, giving particular note to the three lifeguards who risked their lives to swim out to the victims in the midst of a furious thunderstorm.
“If they hadn’t gotten them out of the water,” he somberly mused, “there would have been no need for EMS.”

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