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SGT Rock
08-04-2005, 18:12
Apparently Shelters ain't always safe either:


Authorities say Boy Scouts struck by lightning were in safe place


Associated Press

Lightning on Tuesday killed a 15-year-old Boy Scout and injured three others while they slept in this log shelter that apparently took a direct hit at Camp Steiner in Utah about 60 miles east of Salt Lake.

By Paul Foy
ASSOCIATED PRESS


4:17 a.m. August 4, 2005




SALT LAKE CITY

The six Boy Scouts had just gotten into their sleeping bags, bedding down in a corner of a log shelter against a violent thunderstorm, when a bolt of lightning struck like a stick of dynamite.


One of the Scouts was killed and three others were injured in the strike Tuesday night. A trauma surgeon who was staying at the campsite with another troop tried in vain to revive 15-year-old Paul Ostler, who had no heartbeat and wasn't breathing.

"I just sat on the bed and cried. I couldn't go to sleep. I was just sitting there thinking 'This poor guy,'" said Dr. Stephen Morris, director of the Trauma Center at the University of Utah Hospital, in an interview with KUTV in Salt Lake City.

Authorities said the heavy, elevated structure, open on one side, was the safest place the Scouts could have been during the storm. "From what we can tell, it appears the lightning hit a tree next to us, came down and came out of the tree and just into some nails that were driven into the cabin to hold the logs together," said troop leader Doug Edwards, father of one of the injured boys, who likened the strike to a stick of dynamite exploding.


Two of the injured boys were flown to a hospital and were expected to be released Thursday, officials said. Edwards' 13-year-old son was treated for minor burns Wednesday and released, he said.


Two other boys and another scout leader in the log structure were not injured, Edwards said. All six boys belong to the same Salt Lake troop.

Ostler's family released a statement thanking leaders and physicians at the scout camp "who tried so valiantly to save Paul's life."

The accident marked the second deadly lightning strike to hit a Boy Scout camp in the last week. Last Thursday, an assistant Scoutmaster and a 13-year-old boy were killed by a lightning strike in California's Sequoia National Park.

Four Scout leaders at the National Boy Scout Jamboree in Virginia were electrocuted July 25 in front of several Scouts after they lost control of a metal pole at the center of a large dining tent, sending it toppling into nearby power lines.

Camp Steiner, where the Salt Lake troop had been staying, is the highest Boy Scout camp in the country at 10,400 feet elevation. It's located in the Uinta Mountains, about 60 miles east of Salt Lake City. The victim's parents, Brent and Teresa Ostler of Salt Lake City, said Paul was an Eagle Scout, the highest rank in scouting, usually attained at an older age of 17 or 18. But in Utah, the Mormon Church advances its scouts more quickly so they can prepare for a proselytizing mission. SignOnSandiego.com.

Retrieved 4 Aug 2005 from http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/nation/20050804-0417-boyscout-death.html

HikeLite
08-04-2005, 20:00
Shelters with an open side are not safe at all. Lightning travels horizontal too.

http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/outdoors.htm

When a Safe Location Is Not Nearby

The lightning safety community reminds you that there is NO safe place to be outside in a thunderstorm. If you absolutely can't get to safety, this section is designed to help you lessen the threat of being struck by lightning while outside.

Being stranded outdoors when lightning is striking nearby is a harrowing experience. Your first and only truly safe choice is to get to a safe building or vehicle. If are camping, climbing, on a motorcycle or bicycle, boating, scuba diving, or enjoying other outdoor activities and cannot get to a safe vehicle or shelter, follow these last resort tips.

Do NOT seek shelter under tall isolated trees! The tree may help you stay dry but will significantly increase your risk of being struck by lightning. Rain will not kill you, but the lightning can!

Do NOT seek shelter under partially enclosed buildings

Stay away from tall, isolated objects. Lightning typically strikes the tallest object. That may be you in an open field or clearing.

Know the weather patterns of the area. For example, in mountainous areas, thunderstorms typically develop in the early afternoon, so plan to hike early in the day and be down the mountain by noon.

Know the weather forecast. If there is a high chance of thunderstorms, curtail your outdoor activities.

Do not place your campsite in an open field on the top of a hill or on a ridge top. Keep your site away from tall isolated trees or other tall objects. If you are in a forest, stay near a lower stand of trees. If you are camping in an open area, set up camp in a valley, ravine, or other low area. A tent offers NO protection from lighting.

Wet ropes can make excellent conductors. This is BAD news when it comes to lightning activity. If you are mountain climbing and see lightning, and can do safely, remove unnecessary ropes extended or attached to you. If a rope is extended across a mountain face and lightning makes contact with it, the electrical current will likely travel along the rope, especially if it is wet.

Stay away from metal objects, such as fences, poles and backpacks. Metal is an excellent conductor. The current from a lightning flash will easily travel for long distances.

If lightning is in the immediate area, and there is no safe location nearby, get into the lightning desperation position:

SQUAT DOWN! KEEP YOUR FEET TOGETHER! - KEEP OTHER PARTS OF YOUR BODY OFF THE GROUND! - CLOSE YOUR EYES AND COVER YOUR EARS!

http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/images/crouch.jpg

sliderule
08-04-2005, 22:03
I have heard stories of several hikers being killed by lightening at a shelter in the Smokies, back when the bunks were made of wire mesh. One account placed the event at Siler's Bald. Supposedly the wire bunks were replaced, because of the incident, with the current wooden platforms.

Blue Jay
08-04-2005, 22:13
I hate to tell you this but people have also been hit inside enclosed buildings. Lightening can travel along pipes or wires. The only place there has been no reported strikes is under your bed. I suggest you stay there.

Ridge
08-05-2005, 00:05
...Shelters with an open side are not safe at all. Lightning travels horizontal too.

http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/outdoors.htm ........


Its amazing that one is safer OUT of a dry shelter and under some high tension lines in the rain or under a steel bridge. The Link is a "must read" for everybody here at WB.

Dharma
08-08-2005, 08:00
Way to much information for my brain to process. Let me sum it up: if you come across a shelter on a stormy night that has boy scouts in it... move on.

SGT Rock
08-08-2005, 08:58
Yes, this is good stuff. Heck, a few weeks ago I would have said a shelter is the best place to be in a lightning storm and one of those exposed cuts where power lines cross is probably the very worst. See what you can learn?

Thanks HikeLite!

manzana
08-08-2005, 10:14
I have heard stories of several hikers being killed by lightening at a shelter in the Smokies, back when the bunks were made of wire mesh. One account placed the event at Siler's Bald. Supposedly the wire bunks were replaced, because of the incident, with the current wooden platforms.

It was double springs shelter

Youngblood
08-08-2005, 10:18
Yes, this is good stuff. Heck, a few weeks ago I would have said a shelter is the best place to be in a lightning storm and one of those exposed cuts where power lines cross is probably the very worst. See what you can learn?

Thanks HikeLite!Yeah, same here... but I'm not sure about a couple of things.

AT shelters are usually underneath taller trees so I don't see them taking direct lightning hits, I see them as pretty safe from falling debris and they tend to stay dry, which is a biggie. In the middle of a forest it is the trees that are going to take lightning hits, right? Now the shelters that are on exposed peaks, that is a different story... and I recall shelter on peaks that were enclosed but with no wiring or plumbing(?), but maybe they had lightning rods... I don't know. And high voltage power lines are also elevated and draw lightning, usually it safely propagates along the lightning protection system to ground... usually. But what if a high voltage line breaks and lands on the ground, do you want to be near it? All lightning strikes are not the same and sometimes there is a lot of heat involved.

I see that is a reputable web site, but is this conjecture by someone who has little real world experience in lightning storms and hasn't taken some important information into consideration or is this for real? I mean, these are serious issues when you tell someone to get out of an AT trail shelter and get under a power line. Something about this just doesn't sound right to me: "High tension wires: If high voltage electrical tension wires cross the road, you may want to seek shelter directly underneath these wires. Do not get too close to the large metal towers which hold up these wires. Stay at least 50 feet away. Electric companies design these high tension wires for lightning strikes. If lighting should strike the wires or towers, the current is designed to safely go deep into the ground." I don't even like the thought of being on wet ground where lightning is likely to be 'safely discharged'. I wonder what the electric companies who are reponsible for the towers would say about that statement?

Youngblood

Youngblood
08-08-2005, 10:41
Authorities said the heavy, elevated structure, open on one side, was the safest place the Scouts could have been during the storm. "From what we can tell, it appears the lightning hit a tree next to us, came down and came out of the tree and just into some nails that were driven into the cabin to hold the logs together," said troop leader Doug Edwards, father of one of the injured boys, who likened the strike to a stick of dynamite exploding. I just looked at this again. I don't think the cabin had much to do with the boys unfortunate demise... I think it may have even been of some help, just not enough. Lightning hit a near bye tree with enough energy to gap the air seperating the tree and the cabin. I think they were just too close to the lightning hit, I don't know that it would have mattered if they were on the ground in a tent or hanging from that tree in a hammock.

Not all lightning is the same, all of it contains a staggering amount of energy and some of it contains even more than that... if we could harness and control it we probably would be an energy rich country instead of an energy dependent one. But we can't.

Youngblood

SGT Rock
08-08-2005, 11:17
I guess the lesson really is you can take a lot of precautions to mitigate the risk, but you can't reduce the risk to zero.

justusryans
08-08-2005, 19:20
I guess the lesson really is you can take a lot of precautions to mitigate the risk, but you can't reduce the risk to zero.Yes SGT, but even if you could take every bit of inherent risk out of life, would you even want too? Would that make life more appealing or less? I don't think I would get the same kick out of hiking if it was as safe as something like golf.
:jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump

smokymtnsteve
08-08-2005, 19:37
I do believe I saw ouR beloved "THE WEASEL" hiking back in 2000 during a thunderstorm waving his hiking pole over his head screaming "HERE I AM"

:eek:

c.coyle
08-08-2005, 19:38
... Wet ropes can make excellent conductors. This is BAD news when it comes to lightning activity. If you are mountain climbing and see lightning, and can do safely, remove unnecessary ropes extended or attached to you. If a rope is extended across a mountain face and lightning makes contact with it, the electrical current will likely travel along the rope, especially if it is wet. ...

Wonder what this means for us hammock hangers :-?

SGT Rock
08-08-2005, 19:49
Yes SGT, but even if you could take every bit of inherent risk out of life, would you even want too? Would that make life more appealing or less? I don't think I would get the same kick out of hiking if it was as safe as something like golf.
:jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump
Well I don't mind repelling out of a hovering helicopter, but I still would want to take safety precautions before doing it. So the equal is I still plan to hike, I just don't plan to rub raw hamburger on my naked body and then sleep outside in the Smokies.:datz

justusryans
08-08-2005, 20:20
Nothing wrong with safety precautions. I firmly believe in them. As for rubbing yourself with hamburger and sleeping outsides in the Smokies..... Wadda ya give me?

smokymtnsteve
08-08-2005, 20:24
I'd prefer to be dipped in honey :banana

Tin Man
08-08-2005, 20:56
Yes SGT, but even if you could take every bit of inherent risk out of life, would you even want too? Would that make life more appealing or less? I don't think I would get the same kick out of hiking if it was as safe as something like golf.
:jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump

Golf - safe??? I bet more golfers get hit by lightning than backpackers every year. Not to mention golf balls flying in from another fairway, clubs thrown in anger, and the occassional frying pan across the scalp after coming in late from the 19th hole!

Tin Man
08-08-2005, 21:15
Way to much information for my brain to process. Let me sum it up: if you come across a shelter on a stormy night that has boy scouts in it... move on.

Easy Dharma. I just got back from a week with the Boy Scouts!

After all the discussion about the tragedy under the power lines in VA, I went off to scout camp with my oldest. When I drove into the camp (Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco in Blairstown, NJ), I found that the parking lot was right under high tension power lines! :eek: And to go anywhere in camp, you had to pass under those same power lines. Then we were told not to worry, the rattle snake that was reported earlier had been captured, but keep your toothpaste in the car (under the power lines) because the resident bear comes around every day! And, yes, we did indeed see the bear on two occassions after returning to our site after dinner. Then one of the kids in our troop had to have a leech removed. And oh, by the way, the pond and surrounding cabins is where they filmed the original Friday the 13th!

On the bright side, we were less than 1 mile from the AT in NJ, about 14 miles north of the Delaware Water Gap and I did some day hikes there, where I felt safer than scout camp!

Oops, I guess I am a little off topic here. Ah, we had to evacuate the pond on the last day due to lightning in the area. :D