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2 Carson soldiers in hospital after lightning strike

Aug. 1, 2013 - 05:55PM   |  
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FORT CARSON, COLO. — One soldier was in serious condition Thursday and another was in stable condition, but 10 others were released from the hospital after lightning struck near them during a training exercise, officials at Fort Carson said.

The 12 soldiers had been in training but were heading toward shelter when the lightning struck Wednesday afternoon, Army officials said. Medics who were present for the training treated them until emergency responders arrived.

Ten of the soldiers were released from the hospital Wednesday evening.

The incident comes after 11 workers were struck by lightning July 18 at a northern Colorado farm.

Two of the workers in the organic fields in Wellington were critically injured, and the nine others were also treated at hospitals.

Wellington Fire Protection District Chief Gary Green has said the workers were preparing land for planting when a strong thunderstorm hit. Some of them were trying to reach shelter under a tractor, and others were heading for a vehicle when they were struck.

The Denver office of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration was investigating.

As of last week, 14 people have died from lightning strikes in the U.S. this year, according to the National Weather Service. The number of lightning fatalities in the country has held relatively steady the past three years, with 28 in 2012, 26 in 2011 and 29 in 2010.

Many of the people who died this year were enjoying summertime activities like sightseeing, boating, camping and fishing, the weather service said.

Last month, two people were killed near Jacob Lake, Ariz., while sitting beneath a rock wall at a scenic overlook that got hit by lightning. Others killed this year were under trees in Missouri and New York, fishing on a boat in Louisiana, walking on the beach in Florida, camping in California and at a park in Illinois.

The weather service advises people to stay indoors for 30 minutes after the first flash of lightning or clap of thunder.

Most lightning deaths occur between June and August when people are outdoors enjoying the warmer weather. Nearly two-thirds of the 238 people killed by lightning in the past seven years were enjoying recreational activities, according to a study by lightning safety specialist John Jensenius Jr.

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