Sunday, July 13, 2014

Second Lightning Fatality In Two Days At Rocky Mountain National Park

At approximately 3:50 p.m. yesterday, July 12th, park rangers were notified of a lightning strike that occurred near Rainbow Curve in Rocky Mountain National Park. Rainbow Curve is located at 10,829 feet along Trail Ridge Road. Rangers responded to four injured people. Four were taken to Estes Park Medical Center via ambulance, one man succumbed to his injuries.

On Friday, July 11th, at approximately 1:20 p.m., park staff were notified of a lighting strike that occurred on the Ute Crossing Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. This trailhead is located on Trail Ridge Road at roughly 11,400 feet, between Rainbow Curve and Forest Canyon Overlook.

Eight people were affected by the lightning strike on Friday with a variety of injuries. All of the people were hiking and were returning to the trailhead when lightning struck the area, roughly 500 yards from the trailhead. One woman died from her injuries. An air ambulance was able to land between cycles of severe weather but the woman died on scene. She has been identified as Rebecca R. Teilhet, 42, from Yellow Springs, Ohio. She was hiking with her husband and a friend. Her husband and friend were taken by ambulance to Estes Park Medical Center.

The other five victims were part of a local hiking group and transported themselves to the Estes Park Medical Center.

The Larimer County Coroner's office will determine the cause of death. The last lightning fatality that occurred in Rocky Mountain National Park was in 2000, when a technical climber was struck on the Diamond on Longs Peak. Hiking at altitude while a storm is approaching is no joke. Lightning tips can be found here, and on the NOAA website.


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