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Nine injured in lightning strike at Old Faithful

June 2, 2010 |  5:09 pm

Old Faithful geyser in the winter. Nine visitors to Yellowstone National Park were injured Tuesday afternoon when lightning struck near Old Faithful.

According to a park news release, all were on the boardwalk or on walkways near the geyser when a small thunderstorm cell produced a single lightning bolt.

Park staff immediately converged on the scene and began to triage the injured.

Bystanders had started CPR on a 57-year-old man, who was conscious and breathing when rangers arrived.  He was taken to the Old Faithful Clinic  in the Visitor Center, and then transported by rescue helicopter to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls.  His current condition is unknown.

Seven others with minor injuries had various complaints of shortness of breath, tingling or numbness.  All were transported to the Old Faithful Clinic, treated and released. 

A ninth individual walked into the Old Faithful Ranger Station and reported being struck by lightning, but did did not seek medical attention.

Hundreds of visitors witnessed the incident, as they were awaiting the next eruption of the famous geyser.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Old Faithful geyser in the winter. Credit: National Park Service

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