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Lightning Strike Kills Boy Scout Leader & Scout, Causes Multiple Injuries

July 28, 2005 

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, CA - Late on the afternoon of Thursday, July 28th, the backcountry ranger assigned to Crabtree Meadow received a report that a number of members of a group of a dozen Boy Scouts hiking near Sandy Meadow had been injured by a lightning strike. The ranger responded immediately, arriving by foot within about 30 minutes. He found at least three people who appeared to be critically injured and called for assistance. Park medics were dispatched by helicopters to the remote site, which is located at an altitude of 10,700 feet about four miles west of Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the 48 contiguous states. Flights were hampered by continuing strong thunderstorms.

Rangers found a number of injured people, with CPR being administered to several of them. Following radio consultation with physicians at University Medical Center in Fresno, one of them was declared dead at the scene. Two more were flown to the center. Eventually, employing four helicopters, the entire party of twelve was evacuated. Afternoon lightning storms are common in the high Sierra during mid-summer, and storms have been occurring daily during the recent hot weather. Such storms always present a potential hazard for backcountry travelers. The individual killed this afternoon was the seventh person to die in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks this year.


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