Three hikers struck by lightning Wednesday afternoon on the east side of Glacier National Park are in serious but stable condition in the intensive care unit at Kalispell Regional Medical Center.
Denise Germann, the park’s public information officer, said the lightning strike occurred along the trail to St. Mary Falls. The victims were a 23-year-old male, a 23-year-old female and an 11-year-old boy.
The three individuals are not family members but were recreating together, Germann said. They are expected to remain in the hospital for several days.
Park dispatch received a call at approximately 4:30 p.m. from a park interpretive ranger reporting that a group of hikers was reported to have been hit by lightning on the St. Mary Falls trail. Several visitors in the proximity of the lightning strike administered CPR to the three victims, who were unconscious and not breathing.
Park rangers do not believe there were any witnesses with a first-hand account of the incident, but several visitors on the east side of the park reported seeing one or two lightning strikes near the falls.
The child was transported by the A.L.E.R.T. emergency helicopter to Kalispell Regional Medical Center. After dropping the child off in Kalispell, the helicopter returned east to rendezvous with a Glacier County ambulance to take both adult victims to Kalispell.
A short and popular hike, the St. Mary Falls trail is located about 10 miles west of the St. Mary entrance station on the Going-to-the-Sun Road.
A weather system, including wind and rain, moved through the area quickly during the late afternoon. The incident is under investigation by the National Park Service
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