Death is only a split-second away. Whenever you forget that, watch the video of Joao Contreras Fuentes getting struck by lightning during a Copa Peru match.
Playing under storm clouds, Fuentes -- along with an assistant referee nearby -- was struck by the near-fatal bolt just as a soccer match began. Amazingly, the strike was captured on camera. But the bolt comes and goes so quickly, it's barely even visible.
In one frame, Fuentes is standing there watching the match begin. In the next, he's falling backward onto the ground like someone shot him (which is more or less what happened, really).
Fuentes was whisked off to the hospital and was pronounced dead shortly thereafter by his team. Either thanks to a miracle or due to shoddy public relations work -- but probably shoddy public relations work -- Fuentes was not dead at all, just very, very close to it.
According to Peruvian news site Trome, Fuentes is set to spend a few days recovering, but he should be OK. Here is how hospital director Thomas Párraga described the damage caused by the bolt (translated, of course):
"The lightning broke through his face, pierced the chest and exited through his left calf, without damaging the heart."
Yeah, lay off the medical mumbo-jumbo and tell it like it is. Lightning broke through Fuente's face and exited through his leg like he was a chicken on a spigot. It's as simple as that.
Fuente has second-degree burns on 18 percent of his body, but the lack of heart damage is the true miracle. Tests will be conducted on the rest of his major organs over a period of days, but Fuente appears to be mostly okay for a guy who was barbecued for the world to see.