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7 Kids Hospitalized After Being Electrocuted on a Hike

Rain started rolling in while a group of 50 kids was hiking in Sevier County, Utah, and the worst happened. Water pooled on the trail from the rain, and lightning struck the ground near where the youth group was walking. The lightning strike sent an electric shock through the whole group of kids.

The lightning shock injured seven of the kids enough to require hospitalization. Ambulances brought five of them to a hospital nearby, but two children were so hurt that they needed to be air evacuated to the nearest children’s hospital. Thankfully, none of the children’s injuries are life threatening, according to Fox 13 News Utah.

Sevier County Sheriff Nathan Curtis called it a “light rain” that started coming down on the youth group on Thursday afternoon when the lightning struck the trail. So what could the group have done differently? Is electrocution while hiking a strong risk?

How to Stay Safe While Hiking in the Rain

The American Hiking Society provides these tips for hikers who encounter or may encounter rain while out on the trails:

  • Prepare: Check the weather forecast before you head outside. If a storm is approaching, descend from ridges, peaks, and elevated areas. If you can hear thunder, you are in danger.
  • Seek cover indoors: If possible, seek shelter in a fully enclosed building or a hard-topped vehicle. Partially open structures such as trail shelters, tents, and dugouts are not safe.
  • Seek cover outdoors: If there is no suitable shelter nearby, seek protection in a valley or depression in the terrain. Avoid isolated trees or other tall objects. Stay 100 feet or more away from metal objects, including trekking poles.
  • Assume the position: If lightning strikes, crouch on the ground with your weight on the balls of the feet, your feet together, your head lowered and ears covered. Never lie flat on the ground.

Given the youth group’s experience, we also suggest staying away from puddles on the trail in case lightning strikes the ground nearby.

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