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Lightning bolt outside Yellowstone National Park strikes tent, killing camper

Authorities say a 22-year-old man was killed and another injured Tuesday after a lightning bolt struck an outdoor school’s campground in the Teton Wilderness, not far from Yellowstone National Park.

The Teton County Sheriff’s Office said 11 students and three leaders with the National Outdoor Leadership School were in the Teton Wilderness learning outdoor skills and other techniques when the storms moved through.

Investigators said they believe the 22-year-old student was in a tent when the lightning struck.

A group leader who was also reportedly injured by the bolt tried administrating CPR efforts to the victim before first responders arrived.

Radar animation around the time of the strike showed plenty of lightning associated with storms that rolled through northwestern Wyoming around 6 p.m.

The lightning fatality is the ninth of the year in the U.S. and the first deadly event reported in Wyoming in more than a decade.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says around 20 people each year are killed around the nation from lightning strikes.

Lightning Deaths By State 

The lightning strike happened in the wilderness that borders Yellowstone National Park, where there is little cover from weather’s elements.

Rangers advise anyone hiking or camping in the backcountry during a thunderstorm to avoid open areas and try to find the lowest terrain possible.

A map of lightning deaths by state.

While in the forest or under a rock formation, visitors should try to minimize contact with the ground and keep arms and legs close to their torso until the storm passes.

The National Lightning Safety Council says camping ranks third in activities that become deadly lightning events.

Fishing and beach activities are the leading events where people are struck and killed by strikes.

The council says since 2006, there have been 23 camping-related lightning fatalities.

Lightning map
Camping ranks third in activities involved with deadly lightning events.

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