Lightning strikes this week killed a couple near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and also injured a boatman in the bottom of the Grand Canyon, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
The couple was standing at the LeFevre Scenic Overlook on Highway 89A, eight miles north of Jacobs Lake on Tuesday when a bolt of lightning struck them, stunning a group of people standing nearby.
People used their cell phones to call emergency crews, who later pronounced the foreign couple dead at the scene.
The bolt knocked a boy standing nearby to the ground. He was treated at the scene for non-life-threatening injuries and transported to a hospital in the area. The boy wasn’t with the couple killed by the lightning bolt, but traveling with several adult guardians.
Emergency crews transported the bodies to Flagstaff, where the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office is withholding release of their names until it can notify the next of kin.
Meanwhile, last Sunday morning, a lightning strike injured a boatman on a Arizona Raft Adventures (AZRA) trip deep in the canyon at about river mile 220. Arizona Department of Public Safety airlifted the man to Las Vegas for treatment. The U.S. Park Service has not released the man’s name or his condition.
Lightning strikes rarely hit the bottom of the canyon, but rangers urge people to get off the water and not stand in the river or other pools of water during a storm. When caught in a lightning storm, they urge people to squat as low as possible without lying flat on the ground.
For more information on how to be “lightning smart,” visit Grand Canyon National Park’s Web site at www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/upload/LightningDanger.pdf.