Lightning strike in Yellowstone National Park injures 9 people waiting to see Old Faithful

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

9 injured when lightning hits Old Faithful viewers

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. — A lightning strike in Yellowstone National Park injured nine people waiting to see Old Faithful geyser erupt and one man hit by the bolt on Tuesday was hospitalized until late Wednesday afternoon.

The park identified him as Harlan C. Idell Jr., 57, of Leesburg, Fla.

Yellowstone spokesman Al Nash said Wednesday he didn’t know the type of injuries Idell suffered.

The others suffered minor injuries.

Nash said the lightning struck about 4 p.m. Tuesday in an asphalt area near the Old Faithful Inn.

“There were literally hundreds of people in the immediate area,” he said.

Idell was flown to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Nash said some bystanders performed CPR on the man.

When park rangers arrived shortly thereafter, the man was conscious and breathing on his own, Nash said.

Idell was discharged from the hospital at about 5 p.m. Wednesday, according to a nursing supervisor.

Seven others complaining of shortness of breath, tingling or numbness were treated and released from Old Faithful Clinic, while a ninth person who was struck did not seek medical attention.

The National Weather Service reported the lightning was the only bolt to come from a storm that also produced rain and hail as it move across the Old Faithful area, Nash said.

“It was a typical late afternoon summer storm cell,” he said.

Nash said a similar lightning strike at Old Faithful occurred in June 2005, injuring 11 people.

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