At 12:39 p.m. yesterday, a park visitor called 911 via cell phone to report that someone had been struck by lightning on the Ute Trail. The patient was subsequently located approximately 100 yards from the Ute Crossing Trailhead on Trail Ridge Road approximately one mile above Rainbow Curve. When rangers arrived to the area, the storm was still active with intense lightning activity. The patient was evacuated by park staff and Estes Park EMS down the trail to an awaiting ambulance. The patient was then transported by Estes Park Ambulance to the Estes Park Medical Center. The patient was a 65 year-old female. Her condition is not being released at this time.
Lighting is a significant hazard in the Rockies, particularly during the summer months when thunderstorms are most prevalent and in areas located above tree line where shelter is limited. At least 17 people have been struck by lightning just this week: 4 in the Grand Canyon, 3 in Glacier National Park, and 9 on a farm in Wellington, Colorado. Know what to do should you be caught in the backcountry during a thunderstorm.
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