British doctors warned cellphone users not to use their handsets outdoors during a thunderstorm, lest they be struck down by a bolt of lightning. Citing anecdotal evidence of a 15-year-old girl using a cellphone when she was struck, along with three other fatal cases of lightning striking cellphone talkers in China, South Korea and Malaysia, a spokesperson for the doctors stirred up fear of the almighty wrath of the lightning bolt:
"This rare phenomenon is a public health issue, and education is necessary to highlight the risk of using mobile phones outdoors during stormy weather to prevent future fatal consequences from lighting strike injuries."
Apparently any metal object, including a cellphone, that's in contact with your skin as you're struck by lightning disrupts what's known as a flashover, where you're saved because the electricity passes over your skin on its way to the ground. So if you hear thunder, step away from the cellphone, folks—there's a 1-in-83,930 chance of being struck by lightning. However, be more afraid of the death penalty, where your chances of being executed are 1 in 58,618. But you can worry less about an asteroid impact, where you have only a 1-in-200,000 chance of an asteroid grinding you up into hamburger. Comforting thought.
Mobile phone users warned of lightning strike risk [Reuters]