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9:50am — Lightning Zaps Nine Scouts, Two Adults

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — None seriously injured while hiking on mountain at Philmont Scout Ranch on Sunday.

 

10:35am UPDATE: Nine Boy Scouts and two adults were struck by lightning Sunday afternoon while hiking on the Philmont Scout Ranch near Cimarron, but none was seriously injured, according to the latest from The Associated Press.

The group was descending from the summit of the 12,441-foot Baldy Mountain and was approaching the tree line when the lightning struck, the AP reported.

Most were able to walk to a base camp at an elevatin of 10,000 feet, where Philmont vehicles and at least one ambulance transported group members to health facilities, the AP said.

Six of the 11 were from the Texarkana area of Arkansas and Texas, four were from Glenville, Ill., and one was from Montoursville, Pa., John Van Dreese, associate director of programs at Philmont, told the AP.

All 11 have been treated and had returned to the ranch or were en route Monday morning, the AP said.

"I guess (the lightning) wasn't a direct hit because in most cases, that would probably be a fatal situation," Marcal Young, executive director of the Texarkana-area Caddo Area Council, told the AP. "They have some tingling and everything."


 

Six Boy Scouts from the Caddo Area Council in Texarkana, Texas, were struck by lightning around noon Sunday while hiking on Baldy Mountain on the Philmont Scout Ranch near Cimarron, but none was seriously injured, according to the Texarkana (Texas) Gazette.

But KATV 7, a Little Rock, Ark., ABC television affiliate, says 11 scouts from Texas and Arkansas were part of the group hiking up the 12,000-foot-high mountain, the tallest peak in the area, when dry lightning struck the group.

Scouting officials told KATV that most of the boys were taken by ambulance to a local hospital, while one was helicoptered to Santa Fe, but all were released and have returned to the Philmont Scout ranch.

Five of the six were taken to a hospital where they were receiving medical care and were listed in stable condition on Sunday, Philmont ranch officials told the Gazette.

"We are fortunate that none of them had major injuries and all are showing good signs," Keith Galloway of the Philmont Scout Ranch told the Texas paper.

The boys, whose names were not released, were from Troop 19, Troop 30 and Troop 7 in the Texarkana area of East Texas, the Gazette reported.

However many there were (Boy Scout officials are expected to release the names some time today), the boys were lucky to escape relatively unscathed.

For many years, New Mexico has led the nation in per capita death rate from lightning strikes, recording 72.5 million deaths per 1 million people over the 40 years from 1959 to 1999, according to an online essay on "Severe Weather Climatology for New Mexico."

And, according to this 2001 article in Time magazine, lightning actually killed Scouts at the Philmont ranch in 1987 and 1988.

For a first-person account of the terror and exhilaration of living under Northern New Mexico's crackling skies, see this timely meditation by Taos free-lance writer Carol Mell in today's Journal North edition. 

 

 

 

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