SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah -- Three young sisters were transported to hospitals after a lightning strike near the Utah-Wyoming border, and two of the children are in critical condition after their father revived them via CPR.
Lt. Andrew Wright with the Summit County Sheriff's Office says the Thompson family from Evanston, Wyoming was fishing on the shore of Lilly Lake in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest when a storm rolled in Friday afternoon.
“At that point the father told the three young girls to go over into some trees and lay down to try to avoid the lightning, unfortunately the lightning struck right where they were: hitting the three little girls," Wright said.
The three girls are sisters ages 3, 6 and 7. Their father immediately rendered medical aid.
“From what we understand, two of them were revived via CPR by their father," Wright said. "Those two, the seven and eight year old, are listed in critical condition and were air-lifted to a Salt Lake area hospital.”
The third child, the 2-year-old, was taken by ground ambulance to a hospital in Wyoming and is listed in fair to good condition. Wright said that based on the reports of their deputies at the scene, it appears that at least two of the girls were struck directly by the lightning.
“At least two of the girls had entrance wounds on their back, and it exited at their hips," he said.
There were no other injuries reported beyond those to the three children.
The family called for help. The Summit County Sheriff's Office was already in the vicinity conducting a search for missing hiker Melvin Heapps, so first responders arrived about 20 minutes after the strike.
Wright said at this elevation, storms can come from seemingly out of nowhere.
“So if you’ve ever been in the High Uintas, storms roll in, they can roll in quickly without any notice," Wright said. "And the lightning can be very, very dramatic up there.”
While lightning is common in the area, it's rare for someone to be struck.
“We don’t get a lot of lightning strike calls, at least of people being hit, let alone three children,” Wright said.