Denver International Airport: While loading
a Boeing 747 airliner at Denver International airport on July
17th, a United Airlines ground crew worker was struck by lightning.
In the last two days three other people were also struck by lightning.,
This brings the total number of people struck this month in Colorado
to at least nine. Luckily no one has been killed. A United airlines
spokesman said that the 25-year-old United worker was conscious
when she was taken by ambulance to the hospital. Lighting hit
the jet or loading equipment on which she was working. Only three
minutes after United began clearing the field as a precaution
due to nearby lightning, the worker was struck. Using lightning
sensors that can tell how far away lightning is striking, United
can alert personnel to the dangers. Ground operations had to be
halted for 50 minutes after the strike.
West of Denver, Colorado: About 8 p.m.
three people were struck by lightning while camping or hiking
west of Denver. A man and woman, both 23 and from the Denver area,
were struck by lightning while camping in the Mount Evans area.
They were hit in the legs. Until Monday the couple was prevented
from hiking out of the area due to heavy wind and rains. They
finally reached their car and were able to summon help after driving
to the Echo Lake Lodge. They were taken to Lutheran Medical Center
in Wheat Ridge and treated for minor injuries before being released.
Names were not released.
Aspen, Colorado: On Sunday night July 16th,
Jessica Boynton, 21, was struck by lightning while hiking. She
was taken by helicopter to St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction
on Monday morning where she was listed in good condition. Ms.
Boynton was hiking the previous night in Pitkin County about 70
miles southwest of Mount Evans. She was able to hike to Conundrum
Hot Springs. Two of her companions made the 11 mile hike to Aspen
and called authorities.
Chester County, Pennsylvania: A woman was
taking a riding lesson when a storm moved in. Relatives saw the
strike that took the life of Becky Brewer and the horse she was
riding. "It was terrifying," said her father, Dean N. Brewer,
who witnessed the accident with his wife, Ellen, and daughter
Allison, 13. The 41-year-old Parkesburg woman was in the middle
of a riding lesson with Allison, her stepsister, at Breaking Pointe
Stable late Friday afternoon when a storm caught them off-guard,
causing the session to be cut short. "My younger daughter was
sent to the barn, so she dismounted and took her horse into the
barn," Dean Brewer said. "Becky was doing one last jump when the
lightning struck." Brewer said the powerful current, which killed
his daughter and her horse almost instantly, shot dust about six
feet high when it struck them. Instructor Melvin Dutton, who was
standing several feet away, was knocked down. "The lightning struck
and the lights in the barn went out," Brewer recalled. "It shook
the earth. It was a tremendous bolt. "It was just lucky my other
daughter [Allison] walked away when she did," he added. Brewer
said he immediately went to Becky's side, telling his wife to
call for help. "I was terrified, and I just ran down as fast as
I could," he said. "I tried to bring her round with mouth-to-mouth.
Her instructor was trying. It just didn't help. Nothing helped.
Meanwhile, a weekend of foul weather following the accident has
taken its toll on the family, who gathered together yesterday
to mourn. "It was like a mini-hurricane outside, lightning bolts
all around us," Dean Brewer said. "I think this is going to have
a lasting effect on me. The National Weather Service estimates
the odds of a person being struck by lightning to be 1-in-600,000.
"It was just a freak accident," said Patricia Radcliffe, Ellen
Brewer's mother. "It's such a tragedy."