News Archive

July 14, 2019

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Public Information Unit, 303-441-1500

Lightning strike kills Denver man, injures his wife

The couple was hiking the Bear Creek Trail on Flagstaff Mountain when they were unexpectedly struck by lightning

Boulder, Colo. - Just before 1 p.m. this afternoon, Sheriff's dispatchers received a 911 call from a hiker on the Bear Creek Trail indicating that two hikers had been struck by lightning. The reporting party indicated that one of the victims was unconscious, was not breathing, and that another passerby had started CPR. The second victim, a 37-year-old Denver woman, was conscious and alert, and reported that the unconscious man was her 36-year-old husband.

Rescue personnel located the injured couple approximately 1/4 mile up the Bear Creek Trail from the trailhead located in the 2700 block of Bison Road. The first rescuers to arrive, a ranger from the City of Boulder's Open Space and Mountain Parks and a ranger from Boulder County Parks & Open Space, took over CPR from the bystander and immediately utilized an automated external defibrillator (AED) on the unconscious victim. Through resuscitative efforts, rescuers were able to re-establish the man's pulse on scene. The man was subsequently evacuated by AirLife, a medical helicopter, and was transported to a local hospital where he later died.

The initial on-scene investigation suggested that the man received a direct lightning strike on his upper body. The man's wife is not believed to have been directly hit but suffered injuries as a result of the ancillary electrical current from the strike that hit her husband. The woman was transported, conscious and breathing, by ambulance to a local hospital for treatment of her non-life-threatening injuries.

The entire rescue operation took approximately two hours and involved rescue personnel from the Sheriff's Office, Rocky Mountain Fire Protection District, Rocky Mountain Rescue, Boulder County Parks & Open Space, City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, AMR Ambulance, and the Boulder Fire Department.

The man's identity is being withheld pending notification of his other family members. The Boulder County Coroner's Office is responsible to publicly identify the man and determine the cause and manner of his death.

The case number associated with this investigation is 19-3950.

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/s/ Cmdr. Mike Wagner
Public Information Officer