Lightning Strikes 7 Hikers on Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina

by Shelby Scott

They say that people have a one-in-a-million chance of directly experiencing a lightning strike. However, that’s one one-in-a-million we would prefer to avoid. Unfortunately, an August 13th hike took a turn for the worst for seven hikers on North Carolina’s Grandfather Mountain. The group was hiking across the mountain’s MacRae Peak when a passing thunder and lightning storm struck the group.

According to the area’s local outlet, WBTV, the storm overwhelmed the region around noon that day. While I’m sure the strike was truly terrifying, officials said the whole group walked off the trail and made their way to an ambulance. While the article didn’t specify all of the injuries, one person fell and received a head injury. Another reportedly suffered burns. The majority of the rest sustained minor injuries.

The most recent lightning strike across the United States occurred yesterday. Nevertheless, the New York Post said another strike occurred on Orchard Beach in The Bronx the previous day. The Thursday incident involved a thirteen-year-old boy who unfortunately lost his life. Additionally, another teen suffered serious injuries during the Thursday strike and injured five other people.

Lightning Strikes Kill Over 20 Americans Annually

Like we said above, being struck by lightning is a one-in-a-million occurrence, however, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. According to the National Weather Service, more than 20 Americans die due to lightning strikes each year. Hundreds more suffer injuries yet survive the experience.

Unfortunately, a July incident laid claim to another young person’s life after 17-year-old Georgia resident, Walker Bethune, was struck by lightning. The family was on vacation in Florida at the time. According to Outsider’s earliest account, the accident took place just three feet from his family when the lightning initially struck the teen.

Following the strike which occurred on July 17, Bethune received transport to a hospital in Naples Flordia. He then needed to transfer to a Miami trauma center via Medevac.

The teen was hospitalized for over a week as the teen fought for his life for over a week, however, the lightning strike resulted in the intense swelling of his brain. Bethune passed on Wednesday, July 28, 2021.

According to a memorial post in honor of the team, the family wrote, “Walker has finished his race here on Earth,” however, they rest easier knowing he is at peace and no longer in pain.

Know How to Protect Yourself During a Thunderstorm

While it might seem silly to some people as others fear thunderstorms more than others, the National Weather Service claims there is no safe place outside when thunderstorms are nearby. Additionally, they wrote that if you can hear thunder, there is lightning close enough to strike.

The National Weather Service states that the most important is to remove yourself from higher elevations like hills, mountain ridges, and peaks.

Additionally, they do not encourage those stuck outside to lie flat or take shelter under an “isolated” tree. Remaining away from cliffs and overhangs is crucial too. Most commonly heard is to stay away from large bodies of water, however, the absolute most important seems to be avoiding high electricity areas. These include barbed-wire fences and powerlines.