Lightning strikes hikers near Marble
July 17, 2006
MARBLE – Lightning struck a group of hikers as they huddled beneath a tree Monday, injuring four, including a 16-year-old boy who was resuscitated twice.The teen was taken to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs with serious injuries. Another hiker suffered moderate injuries, while the other two were not seriously hurt. A 22-year-old woman was treated for burns to both legs in an ambulance outside the Marble fire station, while another man had a bloody face and limped into the same ambulance.
The other injured person was expected to be treated and released. Carbondale Fire Chief Ron Leach said the 16-year-old was suffering numbness and tingling. The Gunnison County Sheriff’s Office said it would release the victims names and hometowns today, although they are not believed to be from the Roaring Fork Valley.A powerful thunderstorm was lashing the Marble area, in the upper Crystal River Valley about 25 miles south of Carbondale, when the day hikers were hit, likely around 2:30 p.m. The hikers, seven in all and possibly part of one family, were about 1.5 miles up the Silver Creek trail near Lead King Basin. The trail winds between mountainous terrain, about five miles east of Marble in Gunnison County.Members of the response team said the group was around 11,400 feet, in an area with exposed ridges, scree fields and few trees, when the storm blew in. Four hikers, including one with minor injuries, reached Marble around 3:30 p.m. and alerted authorities. The initial report was nightmarish: seven hikers hit by lightning and one person not breathing, Leach said. Personnel from the Carbondale and Basalt fire districts, Gunnison County Sheriff’s Office and West Elk Search and Rescue responded.
A five-member rescue team on an ATV and in a modified SUV brought down the three other hikers.The teen was in a red sleeping bag and attached to a heart monitor, an oxygen mask over his face, when he arrived at the fire station. He moved his arms slightly, but his eyes remained shut as he was transferred from the SUV to another ambulance.
“This was a well-coordinated, quick response,” Leach said. “It appears to be a good ending to what started out as a dramatic call.”Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org