Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Injury from lightning strike while using mobile phone

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 22 June 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:1513

Rapid Response:

mythbusters on mobile phones

Does lightning strike more often if you have metal body/face
piercings? Does a short-circuited mobile phone
explode and can it cause a petrol station to blow up? These questions,
and many others, have
been investigated on "Mythbusters", a Discovery channel documentary series
which is aired here in Europe
at 22:00 CET on weekdays on Discovery Europe. However, here is one story
which the "Mythbusters have
not investigated (yet): do mobile phones attract lightning bolts?

Why not? Anything with an antenna or aerial would attract electric
discharges, just like trees, metal spikes on tip of buildings, etc.
However, mobile phones used inside a car or plane should be protected by
the surrounding metal skin.
I would like to know how many cases a year are reported of
mobile phones attracting lightning. I am forwarding these questions to the
"Mythbusters" team.

Scott Hill
frontier sciences group

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

26 June 2006
Scott M Hill
2900 Hellerup, Denmark