MESA, Ariz.- The storm came in fast and hard through the valley on April 30 -- too quick for Jaime Santana who was riding his horse with a group near Buckeye.
He was struck by lightning. It killed his horse instantly. He miraculously survived.
Santana was taken to Maricopa County Integrated Health System where they have both a burn center and trauma center. He spent the next six months recovering from his injuries.
“I thank God. My family. My parents. I thank the people who got me through it every day,” said Santana.
Santana is back home with his family. He’s doing really well for someone who survived a lightning strike. Family members help push him around in a wheelchair, but he’s not paralyzed. With the help of physical therapy, he hopes to walk again soon.
“Today I feel good. I wake up every morning and I try to do my thing. I feel good,” said Santana. “My goals in the next few months is to actually get completely recovered. Get back to work. Get back to my average life.”
According to the National Weather Service, there have been 36 lightning fatalities in the U.S. this year, so far.
Santana doesn't remember anything from that fateful day. What he does know: He is a lucky man.
“Knowing I survived what I survived. I consider myself a miracle,” said Santana.
A miracle that's changed his outlook on life.
“It's an everyday thing that you got to be grateful for. Friends, family -- everything,” said Santana.
Santana says he wants to get back to riding horses someday. He also credits his family for getting him through his recovery.