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Fowler Associates Labs



Static Fire Stories Articles & Technical Papers Current News

Latest Lightning Victims

Denver International Airport: While loading a Boeing 747 airliner at Denver International airport on July 17th, a United Airlines ground crew worker was struck by lightning. In the last two days three other people were also struck by lightning., This brings the total number of people struck this month in Colorado to at least nine. Luckily no one has been killed. A United airlines spokesman said that the 25-year-old United worker was conscious when she was taken by ambulance to the hospital. Lighting hit the jet or loading equipment on which she was working. Only three minutes after United began clearing the field as a precaution due to nearby lightning, the worker was struck. Using lightning sensors that can tell how far away lightning is striking, United can alert personnel to the dangers. Ground operations had to be halted for 50 minutes after the strike.

West of Denver, Colorado: About 8 p.m. three people were struck by lightning while camping or hiking west of Denver. A man and woman, both 23 and from the Denver area, were struck by lightning while camping in the Mount Evans area. They were hit in the legs. Until Monday the couple was prevented from hiking out of the area due to heavy wind and rains. They finally reached their car and were able to summon help after driving to the Echo Lake Lodge. They were taken to Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge and treated for minor injuries before being released. Names were not released.

Aspen, Colorado: On Sunday night July 16th, Jessica Boynton, 21, was struck by lightning while hiking. She was taken by helicopter to St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction on Monday morning where she was listed in good condition. Ms. Boynton was hiking the previous night in Pitkin County about 70 miles southwest of Mount Evans. She was able to hike to Conundrum Hot Springs. Two of her companions made the 11 mile hike to Aspen and called authorities.

Chester County, Pennsylvania: A woman was taking a riding lesson when a storm moved in. Relatives saw the strike that took the life of Becky Brewer and the horse she was riding. "It was terrifying," said her father, Dean N. Brewer, who witnessed the accident with his wife, Ellen, and daughter Allison, 13. The 41-year-old Parkesburg woman was in the middle of a riding lesson with Allison, her stepsister, at Breaking Pointe Stable late Friday afternoon when a storm caught them off-guard, causing the session to be cut short. "My younger daughter was sent to the barn, so she dismounted and took her horse into the barn," Dean Brewer said. "Becky was doing one last jump when the lightning struck." Brewer said the powerful current, which killed his daughter and her horse almost instantly, shot dust about six feet high when it struck them. Instructor Melvin Dutton, who was standing several feet away, was knocked down. "The lightning struck and the lights in the barn went out," Brewer recalled. "It shook the earth. It was a tremendous bolt. "It was just lucky my other daughter [Allison] walked away when she did," he added. Brewer said he immediately went to Becky's side, telling his wife to call for help. "I was terrified, and I just ran down as fast as I could," he said. "I tried to bring her round with mouth-to-mouth. Her instructor was trying. It just didn't help. Nothing helped. Meanwhile, a weekend of foul weather following the accident has taken its toll on the family, who gathered together yesterday to mourn. "It was like a mini-hurricane outside, lightning bolts all around us," Dean Brewer said. "I think this is going to have a lasting effect on me. The National Weather Service estimates the odds of a person being struck by lightning to be 1-in-600,000. "It was just a freak accident," said Patricia Radcliffe, Ellen Brewer's mother. "It's such a tragedy."



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