Hero dog leads family to unconscious girls after lightning strike in Utah

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BEAVER COUNTY, Utah -- Two girls were flown to a Utah hospital on Friday after being struck by lightning in Beaver County, and sheriff's deputies say a family dog led relatives to the unconscious girls after the strike, according to KSTU.

Deputies with the Beaver County Sheriff's Office were called at 10:45 a.m. Friday on a report of two girls who had been struck by lightning.

The girls, ages 8 and 16, were camping with relatives near Big Flat in the Beaver Mountains as part of a family reunion,

The girls were riding on an ATV and had gotten off the vehicle to look around, accompanied by a family dog.

As the girls were heading back to the ATV, they were struck by lightning, according to KSTU.

"The dog returned to the camp and alerted the family," the sheriff's office said. "The family followed the dog back to the site where the girls were found on the ground unconscious."

Both girls were flown by helicopter to Beaver Valley Hospital, and from there Life Flight took the girls to Primary Children's Hospital.

The 8-year-old girl remains in critical condition but “has made steady improvements and is responding to the medical interventions from the staff at Primary Children’s Hospital,” the sheriff’s office said.

The 16-year-old girl has made “great improvements,” and is in stable condition and healing.

The family issued a statement through the sheriff's office.

“As a collective family we would like to express our gratitude to the total stranger who stopped to render aid to our two daughters who were victims of the lightning strike in the Tusher Mountains. We would also like to express our deepest appreciation to our family in Beaver County who supported us during this event with selfless acts of kindness.

"We as a family are very thankful to all of the good Samaritans and first responders who came so quickly to render aid to our daughters. Their heroic efforts and rapid response were very appreciated. We especially want to thank the pilots and flight crews from the Department of Public Safety and Life Flight. Thank you for your selfless care. We hope to personally thank each of you in the future.

"We are very thankful for the support, words of kindness, and kind gestures in our daughter’s behalf. As a family we would like to take some time to focus on the healing of these two girls and we would ask for some time to focus on their immediate needs.

"We would like to clarify that the girls were from Payson, Utah and Springville, Utah. We were in Beaver County attending a family reunion with members of our extended family in that area.

"Thanks for everyone’s thoughts and prayers."