Man killed by lightning at Grand Canyon

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GRAND CANYON, Ariz. – A man died Sunday after being struck by lightning in Grand Canyon National Park.

At 4:05 p.m., the Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center received a report that an unidentified man had possibly been struck by lightning on the South Kaibab Trail, according to a press release from Grand Canyon National Park.

Paramedics located the man near Ooo-Aah Point, approximately 1 mile down the South Kaibab Trail. The man, identified as Jonathan Crowden, 21, of Alfredton, Australia, was unresponsive, and medics were unable to resuscitate him.

The National Park Service is conducting an investigation into the incident in conjunction with the Coconino County Medical Examiner.

The press release said:

Park rangers advise that lightning can strike 10 miles across the canyon. Park visitors and residents should stay away from exposed points during storms and lightening (sic) activity. The safest place to be during a thunderstorm is inside a building or a vehicle with the windows closed. Avoid touching metal railings when lightning activity is nearby.

If in an open area during a storm it is recommend to assume the lightning position which will reduce the chances of getting a direct strike. Individuals should squat or ball up to be as low as possible, without lying flat on the ground. Wrap your arms around your legs, keep your feet together, and if possible use a sleeping pad or other insulated object to sit on; avoid sitting on backpacks with metal frames.

Serious injuries and fatalities have occurred in the past in Grand Canyon National Park as a result of lightning strikes, according to the press release. Park visitors are reminded that if the sound of thunder follows a lightning flash within 30 seconds or less, shelter should be sought in a building or vehicle, or visitors should proceed to the nearest bus stop to get on a park shuttle.

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