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Father, son likely killed by lightning at Maroon Bells identified

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PITKIN COUNTY, Colo. -- The bodies of two people killed in an apparent lightning strike in the Maroon Bells Wilderness Area were found at a campsite Wednesday morning.

The Pitkin County coroner identified the victims Thursday as 41-year-old Jeffrey Beard and 14-year-old Cameron Beard, both of Colorado Springs.

The Pitkin County Sheriff's Office said an adult male and juvenile male were found unresponsive in their tent by other hikers Wednesday morning. The campsite was located south of West Maroon Pass at about 11,000 feet.

Two other children were unharmed and they were walking toward the Maroon Bells parking lot on their own.

The two dead were father and son, while the two survivors were an older daughter about 12 years old and younger son approximately 8 or 9 years old who had been staying in a separate tent, according to a U.S. Forest Service volunteer who spoke with the man who found the bodies, helped report the incident and saw the children come out of the wilderness, according to the Aspen Times.

The report also said officials believe the lightning hit Tuesday night or early Wednesday.

Pinpoint Weather Chief Meteorologist Dave Fraser said radar indicated some lightning hit the Maroon Bells area at about 3:45 p.m. Tuesday.

Rescuers recovered the two bodies Wednesday afternoon and the coroner will determine the official cause of death after autopsies.

"The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office wishes to remind the public to be weather-aware, especially in the backcountry, and to take appropriate actions to protect themselves," the news release said.

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