A FATHER and daughter from North Cornwall say they are lucky to be alive after their cottage was struck by lightning in the midst of a thunderstorm on Friday.
Michael Bond was outside his 100-year-old family home at Higher Crackington, between Camelford and Bude, when the first thunderbolt hit at 11.15am on Friday morning.
It damaged the Bonds' home and the adjoining holiday cottage which is owned by a family from Reading.
There was extensive damage to both properties, with debris from roof slates and chimneys scattered into the gardens and the road, and all the electrical sockets, cables and showers melted.
The Bonds' telephones, television, hi-fi and computer have also been blown out and are beyond repair.
"The storm came very quickly," said Mr Bond.
"It went black as if the sun was completely blocked out by the clouds. I heard the thunderbolt and came running in to my daughter
"We were both clinging to each other. We were absolutely petrified.
"The major thunderbolt hit the chimney of our next-door neighbour," he said.
"My daughter witnessed the sparks come down the chimney. It completely filled the house with smoke.
"Another thunderbolt came 30 seconds later. It came right through our ceiling. We are lucky to be alive.
"It travelled backwards through all the BT lines and the electrical consumer lines."
The lightning strike caused their neighbour's roof to catch fire. "I grabbed the hose and did the best we could before the fire brigade came. They were here in just ten minutes, which was very fast," said Mr Bond, an aircraft engineer.
He said both he and Lydia were temporarily deafened by the blast. "It was like a bomb going off."
Firefighters from Bude and Delabole investigated the roof area.