Lightning Strikes River Runner in Grand Canyon - Mountain Buzz

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Old 07-22-2013   #1
Tom Martin's Avatar
Flagstaff, Arizona
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 928
Lightning Strikes River Runner in Grand Canyon

FYI, tom

Grand Canyon News Release
Release date: Immediate

Contact(s): Kirby-Lynn Shedlowski
Phone number: 928-638-7958
Date: July 22, 2013

River Guide Evacuated off Colorado River
Grand Canyon, Ariz. – At approximately 9:15 p.m. on Sunday, July 21 the Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center received a call reporting that an Arizona Raft Adventures (AZRA) river guide required medical attention as a result of a lightning strike. The group was camped at river mile 220. Arizona Department of Public Safety airlifted the AZRA guide to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, NV for treatment of associated injuries.
Lightning strikes at the bottom of the canyon are rare, backcountry users can help reduce risk by getting off the water as soon as thunder is heard and not stand in the river or other pools of water during a storm. Avoid seeking shelter near trees and bushes that rise above others and avoid cave entrances. If in an open area during a storm it is recommend to assume the lightning position which will reduce the chances of getting a direct strike. Individuals should squat or ball up to be as low as possible, without lying flat on the ground. Wrap your arms around your legs, keep your feet together, and if possible use a sleeping pad or other insulated object to sit on; avoid sitting on backpacks with metal frames.
Serious injuries and fatalities have occurred at Grand Canyon National Park in the past as a result of lightning strikes. Visitors to the park are reminded that if the sound of thunder follows a lightning flash within 30 seconds or less, they should seek shelter in a building or vehicle, or proceed to the nearest bus stop to get on a park shuttle.
Remember, “if you see it, flee it; and if you hear it, clear it.” For more on how to be “lightning smart”, please visit Grand Canyon National Park’s web site at
Additional information about staying safe outdoors can be found at the National Weather Service website NWS Lightning Safety Outdoors

Public Affairs Office
Grand Canyon National Park
Kirby-Lynn Shedlowski
Public Affairs Specialist

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Old 07-24-2013   #2
Tom Martin's Avatar
Flagstaff, Arizona
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 928
Here is an update. FYI, tom
Dear AzRA Guides,

I am writing to inform you that one of our trips experienced a serious incident this past Sunday evening at the lower 220 camp. Shortly after dinner a lightning bolt struck the beach, affecting several passengers and 2 of the guides. Jim Norton got the worst of it, and was flown to University Medical Center in Las Vegas. At this time Jim is doing well, and hopefully will be discharged from the hospital in the very near future. Fortunately there were no other serious injuries. The crew of Derik, Betsy, Kevin and Kelli did a tremendous job of tending to the group, as well as caring for Jim until the helicopter could get to them.

Be safe out there,
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Old 07-24-2013   #3
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 509
Jim is a great guy!! He needs a few prayers to assist his recovery in Flagstaff.
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Old 07-24-2013   #4
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 509
We hope to see you back on the river soon Jim!
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