PLAIN CITY— Quick work by two public employees made sure two lightning-strike victims got immediate medical attention Saturday afternoon.
A man and a boy were injured when they were struck by lightning while hunting on the Rail Trail in northern Weber County.
The incident happened about 4:30 p.m. at 4000 N. 3500 West, said Sgt. Jason Talbot, of the Weber County Sheriff’s Office. The boy, 13, and the 30-year-old man were hunting and had just passed the trailhead gate when they suffered a direct hit by lightning, Talbot said.
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Sgt. Mitch Lane also was at the trailhead and saw the two males fall after the strike. With heavy rain falling and lightning flashing in the sky, Lane began administering CPR to the boy, who was in full cardiac arrest, and was soon joined by Weber County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Read, Talbot said.
“That was really some impressive work,” Talbot said. “The conditions were really dangerous while (Lane and Read) were helping this boy. Mitch saw it happen and was able to perform CPR right away. He got a pulse, then got him breathing.
“If they hadn’t been there, I don’t know what would have happened.”
The boy was taken by ambulance to an Ogden hospital in critical condition, Talbot said. He was later airlifted to Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City in very critical condition.
The man was alert but also was taken to the hospital for examination. Talbot said the man was in good condition. He was not able to release the victims’ names as of 6 p.m. He believes they were dove hunting but could not confirm that.
Talbot said weather conditions were extremely dangerous at the trailhead at the time of the strike.
“It’s been lightning all day long,” he said. A severe thunderstorm was passing through northern Weber County into Box Elder carrying high winds, heavy rain and hail.
The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm watch for all of Northern Utah on Saturday afternoon, said Monica Traphagan, a forecaster with the service in Salt Lake City.
The National Weather Service warned of winds of more than 50 miles per hour and quarter- to half-dollar-sized hail, heavy rain and frequent lightning. There were hundreds of lightning strikes on Saturday, Traphagan said.
The highest reported wind gusts along the Wasatch Front were 51 mph in Centerville just before 6 p.m. Saturday. Weather conditions were considered very unusual because of the number, the duration and intensity of thunderstorms throughout northern and central Utah.