Almost two weeks ago, four people were struck by lightning during a dangerous thunderstorm near the White House.
Three of the victims — a Wisconsin couple in their 70s and a 29-year-old Los Angeles man — were killed, but a 28-year-old Newbury Park woman who now lives in the Washington, D.C., area miraculously survived.
“I don’t know why it was just me that made it out,” said Amber Escudero-Kontostathis. “I know it wasn’t expected for any of us to make it out, after talking to the people that literally are the reason I am here today.”
Those people — two emergency room nurses who were there on vacation and members of the the U.S. Secret Service — saved her life.
Despite her heart stopping two different times, Escudero-Kontostathis said “they were still issuing chest compressions to us for over 35 to 40 minutes.”
“They literally said I was dead, so I was gone. They just kept going and luckily, they got that heartbeat back,” she explained.
Escudero-Kontostathis suffered second-degree burns on a large part of her body and has “extreme nerve pain from literally my waist down,” requiring a long and painful recovery.
Despite the challenges ahead, she’s looking forward to getting back to her work of helping resettle refugees around the world, and she’s thankful to those who saved her life.
“I’m just extremely beyond words grateful, and without people like them, there are no miraculous stories,” she said.