View Full Version : What are the chances?

April 13th 2006, 12:05 AM
This is an actual event and I'm wondering what are the chances...so I hope someone here can help.

In Knoxville, TN a 45 yr old male is out on the golf course, in a golf cart. Lightning hits a tree, which falls on the cart..thus breaking his neck and he dies.

Can anyone calculate the odds for me?

April 13th 2006, 01:11 AM
By odds, do you mean the chance of this happening in a selected person's lifetime, chance of this happening per second for an individual, chance of this happening to someone in the world today...

Irish Blues
April 13th 2006, 10:41 AM
I came up with the following answer through an ad-hoc process:

1 in 79 million. And 4.

April 13th 2006, 04:46 PM
This should be an application of conditional probability: an easy model is to break the events into a sequence of subevents, and for simplicity first analyze the situation when the subevents are independent.

Without specifying the suitable conditions, it's not clear what to choose for the sample space: for example for those people not playing golf, the probability should be much, much smaller, in fact I would say, zero.

Question: did someone get hit by the lightening under such condtions? I heard a story on TV that a person in Philadelphia or nearby area got hit by the lightening twice in his lifetime and didn't die.