WATCH | Airport worker struck by lightning in Florida

Posted at 2:57 PM, Aug 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-02 16:50:21-04

A 21-year-old who was struck by lightning at Southwest Florida International Airport is making strides in his recovery, his family said.

Austin Dunn has been at a Tampa hospital since last Saturday.

A ground worker for an airport contractor, Dunn was touching a Sun Country plane when lightning hit the plane, traveling into Dunn's left hand and out of his right.




He suffered third-degree burns and bleeding on his brain, which has finally stopped, his sister said.

Dunn's family and friends gathered in Buckingham on Saturday for a prayer service, which he watched via FaceTime.

"I'm hoping with all the prayers and the support it just shows not to let go, just keep going," said his sister, Autumn Dunn.

She remembers when she got the phone call about the accident.

"All I asked was if he was alive and we got there, and once we knew he was alive, it was a relief," she said.

While the bleeding on his brain has stopped, he still has a long recovery ahead, including surgery on his hands.

She said friends and family will continue to pray so she can have her best friend back home, though she said they don't know when that will be.

"With everyone praying, I'm hoping that he gets to come home soon and we get to be there and help him through everything. It's hard not being there."

ABC Action News spoke with a  spokesperson at  Tampa International Airport about their protocol during lightning, they say they'll ground flights and keep workers inside if lightning is within 3.2 miles.