3 Sisters Struck By Lightning In Uinta Mountains, UT: Dad Saved Girls With CPR

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Friday August 4th, Summit County, Utah- Sisters ages 2, 7 & 8 were on a camping trip with their parents in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, 10 miles from the Wyoming border when they were struck by lightening.

The family, from Evanston, Wyoming was fishing near Lilly Lake when a storm quickly approached. Authorities reported that the father told the girls to get away from the water and lay down on the ground by the tree line. Shortly after, lightening hit the girls.

One of the sisters was hit directly by the lightening and all three were injured. Two of the girls are reported to have an entrance wound in their back and an exit wound at their hip. The father gave CPR to the two eldest girls and revived them before emergency personnel arrived.

The two eldest girls were in critical condition and taken via helicopter to a Salt Lake Valley area hospital. The youngest sister, reportedly in fair to good condition, was taken in an ambulance to a hospital in Evanston, Wyoming.

Lt. Andrew Wright of the Summit County Sheriff’s office said:

“From what was relayed to me from the deputies, as soon as that storm rolled in it was a violent storm with lightning. The father told them to get away from the water and to lie down near the trees as soon as the lightning cracked and that’s when they were struck.”

Timeline of events:

The lightening strike occurred at 1:44 p.m. on August 4th, dispatch received a report from a bystander about the incident at 1:49 p.m. and deputies and law enforcement were on the scene within 20 minutes.

All three girls are expected to live.

Lilly Lake is a high altitude lake at around 9,927 feet it is accessible by car on the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway. 

Lilly Lake, Image: wasatchandbeyond.com

Lightning Safety Outdoors

“When a Safe Location is not Nearby

If you absolutely cannot get to safety, you can slightly lessen the threat of being struck with the following tips. But don’t kid yourself–you are NOT safe outside. Know the weather patterns of the area you plan to visit. For example, in mountainous areas, thunderstorms typically develop in the early afternoon, so plan to hike early in the day and be down the mountain by noon. Listen to the weather forecast for the outdoor area you plan to visit. The forecast may be very different from the one near your home. If there is a high chance of thunderstorms, stay inside.

  • Avoid open fields, the top of a hill or a ridge top.

  • Stay away from tall, isolated trees or other tall objects. If you are in a forest, stay near a lower stand of trees.

  • If you are in a group, spread out to avoid the current traveling between group members.

  • If you are camping in an open area, set up camp in a valley, ravine or other low area. Remember, a tent offers NO protection from lighting.

  • Stay away from water, wet items, such as ropes, and metal objects, such as fences and poles. Water and metal do not attract lightning but they are excellent conductors of electricity. The current from a lightning flash will easily travel for long distances.” –NOAA

Lilly Lake Campground, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, UT

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