Sydney Copeland was part of the hiking group.
Sydney Copeland was part of the hiking group.

Lightning strike injures eight hikers

SEVERALpeople were injured - including one critically - when lightning struck near a group of hikers in Colorado, according to officials.

The Douglas County Search and Rescue said on Facebook the incident happened around 3pm on the Devil's Head trail in Douglas County, located about 80km south of Denver. A total of eight hikers reported injuries, according to the agency.

"It was easily the scariest thing that will probably ever happen in my life," hiker Sydney Copeland told FOX31.

Ms Copeland said she was seeking shelter under a rock face wall with her boyfriend and several hikers when the lightning struck. The group was climbing near the Chicken Head Rock area when the bad weather approached suddenly.

The group being rescued following the lightening strike.
The group being rescued following the lightening strike.

"I think from when it first started precipitating to when we all took shelter and got struck - it was like 10 minutes," she told FOX31.

"The girl behind me, I think she got struck and it travelled through my boyfriend to me. She fell forward and was paralysed pretty instantly."

Lightning strike in Colorado injures eight hikers, one critically, officials say. Picture: Douglas County Search and Rescue/Facebook
Lightning strike in Colorado injures eight hikers, one critically, officials say. Picture: Douglas County Search and Rescue/Facebook

After the strike, one of the hikers had to run about a mile and a half in order to get phone service to call 911. Several agencies then responded to the scene and found the hikers all "conscious and breathing".

Seven of the hikers were able to climb out on their own, while an eighth climber was evacuated "via a litter carry" with lightning strike injuries and transported to the hospital, according to the rescue agency.

Officials told FOX31 a woman was transported to the hospital and was listed in critical condition.

Seven of the hikers were able to climb out on their own, while an eighth climber was evacuated ‘via a litter carry’ with lightning strike injuries. Picture: Douglas County Search and Rescue/Facebook
Seven of the hikers were able to climb out on their own, while an eighth climber was evacuated ‘via a litter carry’ with lightning strike injuries. Picture: Douglas County Search and Rescue/Facebook

So far this year, there have been five lightning strike-related deaths, according to the National Weather Service. Those deaths were reported in Florida, Texas, Kentucky and Pennsylvania.

On average, lightning strikes kill about 50 people in the US each year. The odds of being struck in your lifetime are one in 13,000, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

This article originally appeared on Fox News and was reproduced with permission

 

One of the injuries sustained during the lightening strike.
One of the injuries sustained during the lightening strike.