LEE COUNTY, Fla.- For the first time, we're hearing the frantic 911 calls, moments after a student at Southwest Florida Christian Academy was struck by lightning. That boy remains in critical condition at Tampa General Hospital. A bolt hit Jesse Watlington, as he walked to football practice in Fort Myers.
People at the church are trying to cope with what has happened. They say Jesse is a quiet boy, but he loves sports and is happy to play for the middle school football team.
"My heart went out to the parents. How awful to get that phone call that something happened to your child!" That's how Jeff Taylor feels about the lightning that struck the sixth grader. Taylor, the general manager and morning host at Christian radio, WAY-FM, has a daughter who goes to school with Jesse.
Taylor coached intermural basketball at Southwest Florida Christian Academy last winter, and Jesse was on the team. The 11-year-old was walking to football practice Wednesday, when he was hit. Paramedics brought back a pulse, and Jesse was transported first to a local hospital, then to Tampa General.
Listeners are calling into the radio station and sending e-mails about Jesse.
Rev. Powell of McGregor Baptist said they do have lightning detectors around all of the ball fields at Southwest Florida Christian Academy. There was no indication of danger Wednesday afternoon.
A prayer service, open to public, is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at McGregor Baptist.
All athletic events at Southwest Florida Christian Academy are cancelled this weekend.