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Freak Lightning Strikes Kill 2 in 2 Days at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado

July 13, 2014

Just a day after a lightning strike killed one woman and injured seven others at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, a second lightning strike killed another man in almost the same area, according to Park spokesperson Kyle Patterson. Gregory Cardwell, 52, from Scottsbluff, Nebraska, was killed when lightning struck around 3:30 p.m. in the Rainbow Curve area, 9 News in Colorado reports.

“We didn’t see the bolt it was just a white flash. It just felt like something hit you in the back of the head and just kind of jolted forward," Mary Ivarson told 9 News.

At least 12 people were injured, three of whom were rushed to Estes Park Medical Center via ambulance.

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On Friday, a lightning strike in the same area killed Rebecca R. Teilhet, 42, from Yellow Springs, Ohio and injured seven others. Teilhet's husband and friend were injured and transported by ambulance to a local hospital. Five members of local hiking group were also injured and transported themselves to the Estes Park Medical Center.

Park staff were notified at 1:20 p.m. of the lightning strike, which occurred on the Ute Crossing Trail, park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson wrote in a news release. The area is located off of Trail Ridge Road between Rainbow Curve and Forest Canyon Overlook.

All together, 21 people, including the two victims, were taken to the hospital between Friday and Saturday.

"When hiking in the Rockies during the summer time, it's very important to monitor weather conditions, and to know where to go for safety when the weather gets stormy," says weather.com meteorologist Chrissy Warrilow. "Weather can change quickly from mostly sunny skies to towering thunderstorms within the span of a few hours. Be prepared to leave the trail and head to shelter at the first rumble of thunder."

The last lightning death in Rocky Mountain National Park was in 2000, 9 News reports.

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