Support Flows for Brendale Golf Course Lightning Strike Victim

Brendale Dirk Kotze

Dirk Kotze was struck by lightning at a Brendale golf course and his family cannot be more grateful for the kindness of friends and strangers alike, to the wife and children he left behind.

Dirk, 56, was with his wife, Hannelé, and children Dané, Tiaan and Duan, at Brendale’s Wantima Golf Course in the afternoon of Sunday, 11 March 2023, when an intense storm swept across Queensland. His family said he was trying to seek shelter from the storm when lightning struck him. 

Immediately after the accident, his family and the other guests rushed to help Dirk out and administered CPR whilst waiting for emergency responders to arrive.

Dirk was taken to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, where he bravely fought for his life for 19 days. However, Mel Stewart, his daughter-in-law, said that his body could no longer endure the trauma it suffered due to the lighting strike and he eventually went into a fatal cardiac arrest. 

The family is thankful for all of the doctors who tried to save Dirk and the Brisbane community for their immense support. A friend of the family opened a GoFundMe for Dirk’s loved ones, an effort which has so far received $16,050 in donations.  

“Dirk was a man who was known for having a larger-than-life personality. His faith in God, love for people and for being the epitome of a ‘shirt off the back’ kind of man defined him – there was no one in need he wouldn’t put his own life on hold to help out. His life has impacted many and he won’t soon be forgotten,” Conrad Oberholster wrote in the fundraiser. 

According to AustraliaWide First Aid, over 100 Australians are injured by lightning strikes per year and a single bolt of lightning carries five billion joules, which can measure about 30,000 degrees Celsius. Victims of lightning strikes may suffer a cardiac arrest, respiratory muscle paralysis, superficial skin burns, neurological damage, hearing damage (partial or permanent), optic nerve injury, organ failure, and amnesia or memory loss.

Brendale lighting struck
Photo Credit: Sethink/Pixabay

Professor Peter Adams from the University of Queensland said that any Australian has a 1 in 12,000 chance of getting struck by lightning. Some of the situations where a person risks his chances include being out in an open area, such as a golf course, being wet and soaked during a thunderstorm, and being swept by a side flash or when the lightning strikes a taller object and the current jumps to the person below it. 

To lessen your risks, the experts suggested the following: 

  • If you hear a “buzzing” sound or your hair is standing on end, you need to recognise that you are in an area that is about to be struck by lightning and must leave immediately.
  • Do not seek shelter in the highest object in the area. Stay away from tall objects such as trees, powerlines and metal poles, since they can absorb lightning strikes and conduct electricity to nearby objects through the surface of the ground.
  • Do not go to water sources.
  • Remove all metallic items and jewellery from your body.
  • If you are outside during a thunderstorm, stay in your car or other solid structures.

Published 31 March 2023