DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — Douglas County Search and Rescue was paged to Devil’s Head trail where eight climbers and a dog were stranded Sunday afternoon.
One woman was in critical condition and taken, by ambulance, to the hospital early Sunday evening.
Seven others were described as suffering minor injuries from the lightning strike, according to Douglas County Search and Rescue. Three of the adults needed medical attention.
A spokesperson said it’s unclear whether the three adults — who complained of tingling and pain — were struck directly by lightning or were affected by a nearby strike.
“It was easily the scariest thing that will probably ever happen in my life,” said Sydney Copeland, who was seeking shelter under a rock face wall with her boyfriend and several hikers.
Copeland and her boyfriend were climbing near the Chicken Head Rock area, when bad weather rolled in rapidly.
“I think from when it first started precipitating to when we all took shelter and got struck—it was like 10 minutes.”
She says several other hikers had also sought shelter, about 20 feet away from her.
Copeland says less than three minutes later, lightning struck.
The girl behind me—I think she got struck and it traveled through my boyfriend to me. She fell forward and was paralyzed pretty instantly.”
That woman, according to Douglas County Search and rescue, is in critical condition.
They say one of the hikers ran about a mile and half to an area with service, and called 911.
Search and Rescue was on scene around 4 p.m., with 40 people assisting with the rescue.
Crews had to carry the critically injured woman, via a litter carry, to the trailhead…“with medicine, with oxygen, and advanced life support,” said Douglas County Search and Rescue Public Information Officer Roman Bukari.
The woman was taken by ambulance to the hospital, because weather conditions were too dangerous for a helicopter to land in the area.
All climbers were conscious and breathing and seven of the climbers were able to walk out from the Chicken Head Rock area.
We’re beyond blessed that it wasn’t worse. Any of us could have struck as hard as that other girl”
All parties were conscious and breathing. Seven of the climbers were able to walk out. The eighth climber was evacuated out via a litter carry with lightning strike injuries and transported to the hospital. It was a smooth multi-agency operation. We thank all who assisted. (2/2) pic.twitter.com/ZbJzlZfCKt
— Douglas County SAR (@DCSARColorado) July 1, 2019