Two men who were hospitalized in comas after being struck by lightning on a residential beach in Annapolis on Wednesday night have regained consciousness and are recovering, their families said Saturday.

Both Alex Steele, 23, of Annapolis, and Conner Benson, 19, of Park City, Utah, came out of their comas on Friday and have been recovering at a similar pace, their fathers said.

"It's a miracle," said Ron Steele. "They beat the odds."

The two young men and Jaimie Martin, Benson's 17-year-old girlfriend, had just come in from a day of paddleboarding on the water near Martin's family home in the 100 block of River Drive when a thunderstorm rolled in Wednesday night, said Benson's father, John Benson.

"They initially just ran in, but then when they realized they'd left everything [on the beach] and it was getting scattered around, they ran back out," he said. "And that's when the accident occurred."

Alex Steele, a 2008 Broadneck High School and 2012 Eckerd College graduate, and Conner Benson, who just graduated from Park City High School, were both on the sand when the lightning struck, their fathers said. It's energy traveled through the wet sand and stopped their hearts.

Martin, who was on nearby grass, ran for help. Others at the home and neighbors ran out and began performing CPR on the young men, neither of whom had a pulse, as emergency responders were called.

At Anne Arundel Medical Center, doctors induced comas and cooled the temperatures of their bodies, their fathers said. They awoke Friday.

As of Saturday, both young men had been taken off narcotics, were awake and were being evaluated, their fathers said. Both have short-term memory loss, and don't remember the strike or the moments or days before it, their fathers said, but that is natural for this point in the recovery.

"He seems like he's very groggy, but the hospital thinks he's doing fantastic given the situation," Ron Steele said of his son. "Not many people survive lightning strikes."

krector@baltsun.com

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