GCPBA RiverNews 07.22.13 - River Guide Evacuated off Colorado River Grand Canyon, AZ
At approximately 9:15 p.m. on Sunday, July 21 the Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center received a call reporting that an Arizona Raft Adventures (AZRA) river guide required medical attention as a result of a lightning strike. The group was camped at river mile 220. Arizona Department of Public Safety airlifted the AZRA guide to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, NV for treatment of associated injuries.
Lightning strikes at the bottom of the canyon are rare, backcountry users can help reduce risk by getting off the water as soon as thunder is heard and not stand in the river or other pools of water during a storm. Avoid seeking shelter near trees and bushes that rise above others and avoid cave entrances. 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 at Grand Canyon National Park in the past as a result of lightning strikes. Visitors to the park are reminded that if the sound of thunder follows a lightning flash within 30 seconds or less, they should seek shelter in a building or vehicle, or proceed to the nearest bus stop to get on a park shuttle.
Remember, "if you see it, flee it; and if you hear it, clear it." For more on how to be "lightning smart", please visit Grand Canyon National Park's web site at http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/upload/LightningDanger.pdf.
Additional information about staying safe outdoors can be found at the National Weather Service website http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/outdoors.htm
NPS- Public Affairs Office Grand Canyon National Park
Kirby-Lynn Shedlowski Public Affairs Specialist
Click link for NPS lightning danger publication: Lightning Danger
GCPBA RiverNews 07.25.13 - River Guide Struck By Lightning Recovering
To all who may be concerned:
I am writing to update you on a serious incident that impacted one of AzRA's river trips this past Sunday evening at the lower 220 camp. Shortly after dinner a lightning bolt struck the beach, affecting several passengers and 2 of the guides. Jim Norton got the worst of it, and was flown to University Medical Center in Las Vegas. The crew of Derik Spice, Betsy Harter, Kevin Johnson, Kelli O'Keefe and a guest who was a physician, did a tremendous job of tending to the group, as well as caring for Jim until the helicopter could get to them.
Jim has been released from the burn trauma ward in Las Vegas and is receiving ongoing care. The lightning strike has caused serious injury and he is dealing with residual neuromuscular effects. Currently, his recovery time is unknown. Jim is appreciative for everyone's concern but has requested space to rest and recover. Please be respectful of this request.
Jim and everyone at AzRA are grateful that no one else was seriously injured. We will report any news as we get it, but as of right now there is no additional information available. Please keep Jim in your thoughts and we will keep you apprised of any change in his condition.
If you receive personal inquiries regarding this incident, forward this information as appropriate. We would like to limit the ongoing inquiries coming into the AzRA office.
At this time it is not appropriate to start a fund for Jim's medical expenses.
Fred Thevenin Arizona Raft Adventures Grand Canyon Discovery www.azraft.com 1-800-786-7238 1-928-526-8200