TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A wildlife expert visiting the Florida Everglades to shoot a promotional video had a close encounter he was not expecting.

Biologist and TV host Forrest Galante, who has made appearances on the Discovery Channel, was recording a video while standing knee-deep in the swamps of the Florida Everglades when a bolt of lightning struck right next to him.

“Out of nowhere, boom!” Galante recalled in an interview posted to his YouTube channel.

“I got hit,” he said seconds after scrambling out of the water. “I felt it. I got hit. It hurt.”

“I realized only on reviewing the footage that I just had a lightning bolt hit 15 feet behind me that has gone shooting up my legs, into my waist, into my heart, and into my mouth, actually,” Galante added.

He noted he didn’t see the flash of lightning because he was facing away from it, but he said his legs seized up.

“I’m literally paralyzed for just a fraction of a second before trying to scramble out of the water,” Galante recalled.

“It just shows you that anything can happen. Here we are in a very controlled environment in southern Florida compared to Myanmar, or Borneo, or Amazon,” Galante said. “That was 15 feet away from pretty likely death.”

In 2023, three people have been struck and killed by lightning across the state of Florida.