1 dead, 12 injured in Saturday lightning strike at Rocky Mountain National Park

Posted at 6:34 PM, Jul 12, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-14 09:41:15-04

Officials at Rocky Mountain National Park say a lightning strike Saturday afternoon killed one person and injured 12 others.

"At approximately 3:30 p.m. there was a lightning strike in the Rainbow Curve area along Trail Ridge Road," a statement from Rocky Mountain National Park said.

One man died from his injuries. Witnesses said he was middle-aged.

"We didn’t see the bolt it was just a white flash. It just felt like something hit you in the back of the head and just kind of jolted forward," said Mary Ivarson who wasn't far from the man who was struck.

Ivarson said she and others rushed to the man's aid and performed CPR for 15 to 20 minutes until rescue crews arrived. 

"We turned around and kind of assessed the situation and went over to the man that was down and started doing CPR on him until help came. His t-shirt and stuff was burned from the lightning but we were just trying to help him," Ivarson said.

Estes Medical Center said four additional people were taken to the hospital by ambulance and others drove themselves.  They had treated 12 people for injuries following the lightning strike.

"Right now we are doing tests, looking for evidence of lightning type burns, injuries, we do have one person who had a fall and x-ray’s are being preformed to see the extent of those injuries," said Medical Director, Martin Koschnitzke.

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At 10,829 feet, the Rainbow Curve Overlook is more than two vertical miles above sea level. 

On Friday, lightning in the park killed one visitor and injured seven others. The victim was identified by the park as Rebecca R. Teilhet, 42, from Yellow Springs, Ohio.  She was hiking with her husband a friend who were injured.  The other five victims were part of a local hiking group and transported themselves to the Estes Park Medical Center.  

Friday's death was the first by lightning in Colorado this year.

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