Lightning strikes kill 2 in 2 days in Colo. park

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. — Two people have been killed in two days in separate lightning strikes at Rocky Mountain National Park, the park's spokeswoman Kyle Patterson confirms.

A lightning strike near the Rainbow Curve on Trail Ridge Road at around 3:30 p.m. affected 13 people Saturday. They were taken to the Estes Park Medical Center in Colorado. Doctors say rangers and first responders administered CPR to a man who was directly hit by the bolt of lightning. He was pronounced dead when he arrived at the center.

This comes just over 24 hours after a woman died from a lightning strike on the Ute Crossing Trail, which is located on Trail Ridge Road between the Rainbow Curve and Forest Canyon Overlook.

Seven other people were injured. The woman who died has been identified as Rebecca Teilhet, 42, of Yellow Springs, Ohio. She had been hiking with her husband and a friend.

In total, 21 people were taken to the hospital because of lightning strikes on Friday and Saturday, an official with the Estes Park Medical Center told KUSA-TV.

The last lightning fatality in Rocky Mountain National Park happened in 2000, when a technical climber was struck on the Diamond on Longs Peak.

So far in 2014 across the USA 11 people have been killed by lightning.

According to the National Weather Service, more than 70% of all fatal lightning strikes in the USA occur in the months of June, July and August. More than 30% of all lightning deaths take place in July alone, making it the peak month for fatalities.

Park officials are reminding visitors of the dangers associated with being above tree line — or more than 10,000 feet. That area is very exposed and there are few places to take cover.

Park rangers say visitors should head to lower ground by 12 p.m. to avoid being caught in a dangerous storm.


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