Lightning strike horror: Keep fighting buddy - family and friends rally round George Allen and son Geordie
Primary pupils left traumatised by a freak lightning strike during their sports day on Tuesday that critically injured a father and two children are returning to school.
George Allen (37) is still fighting for his life along with his son Geordie (5). Both remain in a critical condition.
His daughter Georgha (7) was also seriously injured but is now said to be in a stable condition.
Mr Allen remains in intensive care at the Ulster Hospital while his son and daughter are being cared for at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.
The injured man was metres away from his car outside the gates of Killowen Primary School in Lisburn with his children when he was hit by the lightning bolt just before 2pm.
The school's vice principal Ashley Mulligan has been praised for saving Mr Allen's life after reviving him using a defibrilator while waiting for emergency crews to arrive.
It has also been reported that metal plates in Mr Allen's chest from a previous medical procedure may have increased the severity of his injuries.
Mr Allen's brother Jonathan said he believed his sibling lay "dead" for 40 minutes before being brought back to life.
He said his brother had been "blown up" in a "one-in-a-million" accident.
"He actually dropped dead at the scene in front of the wee ones, so thank God people came to help him.
"Everyone has been very distressed," he said.
"They worked on him for a full 40 minutes and managed to get his heart beating on its own again. I still don't know if the locals did that or the ambulance crew."
Having visited his brother in intensive care, Jonathan added that his eyes had fluttered and opened briefly but he remained unresponsive. While Killowen Primary remained closed yesterday, staff met with a critical incident team from the Education Authority and spent time with independent counsellors.
The school will reopen for a half-day to allow staff to reassure pupils and parents who witnessed the terrifying incident. Education Minister Peter Weir visited Killowen Primary yesterday.
"Well obviously it's been a very traumatic incident," he told the Belfast Telegraph.
"It will take quite a while for people to recover from that. I would very much praise the actions of the school and in particular the principal and vice principal in their reaction yesterday."
He added: "The vice principal's swift intervention hopefully saved a life. There was also good work done by the principal as well. They had to try and shelter the family. Some staff members were out with umbrellas for instance.
"In many ways they were still at a certain level of risk themselves. They put personal risk aside and helped this family in very difficult circumstances."
Killowen school governor and former DUP MLA Jonathan Craig added his praise to the heroic actions of vice principal Mulligan.
"He's very modest about what happened and very, very concerned for the father and what happened to the children," he said.
"He's quite a modest individual, which is incredible given what he's done."
A fundraising page set up to help the Allen family has raised more than £2,000.
Started by the Ballymacash Cultural Awareness Project, a message on the JustGiving page read: "George has lived in Ballymacash all his life and is well known in our local community.
"We would like to raise some funds for the family to help with bills and everyday costs during this difficult time.
"We are all praying they make a full and speedy recovery."
Many continued to voice their support for the family on social media.
Cousin Diane Pearson wrote: "Please keep up the prayers for my big cuz George Allen, his two beautiful children George & Georgha."
Friend Dean Neeson added: "All us boys have you in our thoughts George Allen, from talking to you one day to fighting for your life the next, can't believe it mate keep fighting buddy."
Neighbouring school St Aloysius Primary also issued a statement of support saying: "You are in our thoughts and prayers and we wish you all a speedy recovery."
by allan preston