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Amber Escudero-Kontostathis Biography
Who is Amber Escudero-Kontostathis ?
A nonprofit worker has been named as the sole survivor of a lightning strike outside the White House that killed three people.
Amber Escudero-Kontostathis, 28, had been asking tourists in Lafayette Park across from the White House lawn before the strike.
Her family says they forced her to put a fan on her after the storm and that she had been waiting for her husband to pick her up to celebrate her birthday.
She survived the attack that killed Brooks Lambertson, 29, vice president of City National Bank, and James and Donna Mueller, 76 and 75, who were visiting the capital to celebrate their 56th wedding anniversary.
The group hid under a tree during a summer storm and was subsequently struck by lightning, with that flash caught on camera.
Amber was rushed to hospital in critical condition and put on a ventilator as she struggled to breathe.
Her mother, Julie Escudero, confirmed that her daughter managed to take a few steps last night after being removed from the machine.
She wrote online that they were trying to get counseling services for the volunteer, who is eager to get back to work as soon as possible.
Julie said: ‘Amber is literally wowing all the doctors with the progress she’s making with her body. She gets out of the ICU today at 4. She will stay in the burn center, but not in the ICU.
‘Amber was able to take a few steps last night; It was painful, but her will is strong!!
‘Please pray that she can take a few more steps today than she did yesterday.
‘Please pray that the pain is manageable. She is in a lot of pain!! The nurses were taking her to the shower when we just got off the phone with us.
“They told him it will be painful. We also need prayers for us to be strong, calm and say the right words to help her relax.
‘His short-term memory of her is still improving, baby steps. I feel like we saw an improvement on that yesterday.
The Muellers were high school sweethearts who had traveled to Washington from their home in Janesville, Wisconsin, to celebrate more than half a century together.
“They were high school sweethearts,” his niece, Michelle McNett, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “They had a full itinerary. They were supposed to be at Mount Vernon today.
Jim owned and still worked at a drywall company, although he was mostly retired. Donna was a retired school teacher.
“Both of you would do anything for family or friends,” McNett said, “Jim would take your shirt off.”
Secret Service officers and US Park Police saw the attack and rushed to the victims’ aid immediately, said Vito Maggiolo, a spokesman for DC Fire and EMS. They administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation to the injured before taking them to a nearby hospital.
Maggiolo said the four people caught up in the incident were likely trying to seek shelter under the nearby tree when the storm passed just before 7 p.m.
The Fire and EMS spokesman pointed out that trees are not the ideal shelter during thunderstorms.
“Trees are not safe places,” said Maggiolo. “Anyone who goes to seek shelter under a tree, that’s a very dangerous place to be.”
Chris Vagasky, an analyst for a national lightning network, told the Washington Post that there were a total of six “surges” that hit the same spot near the White House within a half-second of each other at 6:49 p.m.
Lafayette Square, a seven-acre public park directly north of the White House, is often packed with visitors, especially in the summer months.
A violent storm swept through the capital late in the day.
The National Weather Service issued a severe storm warning for the area between 6:30 and 7:15 p.m. m., warning of wind gusts of up to 60 mph.
Temperatures in Washington topped 90 degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday, though, with the high humidity, the heat felt like more than 100F, forecasters said.
Powerful storms that followed the heat caused flooding in Baltimore and caused widespread blackouts in Maryland, with Gov. Larry Hogan reporting more than 50,000 power outages in the state as of Thursday night.
Amber Escudero-Kontostathis Quick and Facts
- Amber Escudero-Kontostathis, 28, has been named as the sole survivor in the lightning strike
- The non-profit worker had been canvassing tourists to help raise money for those struggling in Ukraine
- Her family say that she is a ‘miracle’ and has managed to take some small steps since the strike
- Brooks Lambertson, 29, a VP at City National Bank, was killed when the bolt struck Lafayette Park
- James and Donna Mueller, 76 and 75, who were visiting the capital for their 56th wedding anniversary, were also killed
- Officials it was likely that the four people caught in the incident tried to seek