Lightning hit a group of Colorado hikers just a few hundred feet below the peak of the 14,000-foot Mount Bierstadt Sunday morning, sending three to the hospital — one in serious condition.
"I was walking one minute and the next minute I was waking up on the ground not able to move my hands or legs," Jonathan Hardman, who was struck directly on the top of the head, told Fox affiliate KDVR-TV
. "It was like getting the wind knocked out of me and being paralyzed for a minute."
Hardman and two friends, Mary Prescott and Will Chandler, were transported to Denver-area hospitals from the trail head, said the Clear Creek County Sheriff's Office.
Rambo, Hardman's seven-month old German shepherd, died in the lightning strike.
"I had fallen off of a boulder because I was knocked out. I looked up and I just saw him laying there and I tried to go get him. I knew he was dead because a dog just doesn’t lay down like that," said Hardman.
"I’m happy to be alive. I just wish I had my dog here with me. He didn’t even finish his last bowl of food. Part of it is still in my condo because he was just so excited to go hiking with me."
The lightning left a Lichtenberg mark down Hardman's neck, a marking that looks like a tree branch.
Tens of thousands of hikers climb Colorado's 58 mountain peaks that reach more than 14,000 feet — what are commonly referred to as 14ers — each year. The Associated Press reported
that along with Florida, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, and New Jersey, Colorado has a high number of lightning deaths each year.
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