Matt Manzari survived the ordeal (Picture: MDWfeatures)
A man survived being electrocuted so badly that it left him with melted skin over 25% of his body, and his ribs completely exposed.
The accident happened as Matt Manzari, 31, was preparing to trim the top of some trees, after ascending to the canopy in a remote controlled metal bucket truck.
Unfortunately, electricity in a nearby power line was attracted to the steel, conducting across and sending 14,000 volts tearing through his body.
It charred Matt’s flesh and even burned through ligaments and muscles, leaving his ribs and collar bone exposed to the air.
People from the church group he was working with rushed to try and help, but found him in a terrible condition.
Matt said: ‘My wife was working inside the church and after holding her back until the ambulance got there, they finally told her she should say goodbye because they didn’t think I was going to make it.
Matt lost all of the skin on his chest, laving his ribs exposed (Picture: MDWFeatures / @mattmanzari)
‘My family was told that if I ever woke up, I would not be the Matt they knew.
‘They said that amount of voltage definitely gave me brain damage, they just didn’t know how severe. The trauma of that much voltage should have stopped my heart.
‘It was the equivalent of being strapped to six electric chairs and them all being turned on.’
His parents and newly pregnant parter Bobbye Jean were told he was unlikely to live for the rest of the day, but miraculously he managed to survive the night.
He spent the next week in a coma but even after waking up, he still stood a high chance of contracting sepsis which could have been life threatening.
Doctors told Matt’s parents his arms were likely to have to amputated due to how severe the burns were.
He had suffered fourth and fifth degree burns to 25% of his body but once again, he beat the odds and spent the next three months in hospital undergoing more than 70 surgeries including the removal of burnt muscle and tendons, and later skin grafts over his neck, arms, and chest.
Matt said: ‘Doctors were amazed as over the next month, my kidneys never failed, my heart was fine, I was able to keep my arms, and there was no brain damage.
‘A doctor told me when I was sitting in hospital that going septic was a matter of when as opposed to if because of the amount of flesh I had exposed.
‘I avoided sepsis and returned home in September – three months after my accident – just in time for my son Justice (now six) to be born in January.’
The accident in June 2014 has changed his outlook on life, and he now tours as a motivational speaker.
‘You definitely look at life differently when you’ve faced your own mortality,’ he said.
‘When you’re in a position where someone tells you, “In eight hours, you will probably be dead,” you think about all the things you didn’t say and do. You can’t help but view life differently.’
Matt’s skin is blistered, but he is proud to show off his scars (Picture: MDWFeatures / @mattmanzari)
Matt, from Florida, was a keen wakeskater before his accident (a water sport similar to wakeboarding) and became the first athlete to be endorsed in the sport aged just 15.
He spent eight years competing and became world champion.
‘Although travelling and doing what I loved was amazing, it felt like there was a lot of smoke and mirrors when I reached the top of my sport,’ he said.
‘I felt that my calling from God was to go into ministry and so I enrolled in a theology course at the University Of Tennessee.
‘A door opened and I was asked to come into a ministry and teach inner city kids how to water ski, wakeboard, and wakeskate.’
Since the accident, he has even been able to return to wakeskating – something which seemed impossible.
He said: ‘When I look in the mirror, I see my scars and where my chest and arms muscles have been surgically removed but inside I’m a whole person.
‘I know who I am and I’m excited to do the most that I can with whatever time I have left on this earth.’
Matt has also set up his own website and clothing brand called Beyond The Burn in order to share his tale of overcoming extreme adversity.
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