BANNER ELK — A group of 10 people were shocked after lightning struck a tree on the property of the Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster at 2:47 p.m. on Tuesday, July 21.

The group, ranging from 15 to 30 years old, had been sitting on a row of boulders directly under the tree when lightning struck. Several other people were sitting on a nearby bench. Six people were subsequently rushed to the emergency room due to an accelerated heart rate, and the remaining four transported themselves in a personal vehicle. The injuries were non-life threatening, according to Avery County Fire Marshal Paul Buchanan.

“There was a couple that was closest to it and several of them went airborne. They were knocked off their feet. Some of them were knocked off of the rock. None of them actually lost consciousnesses,” Buchanan said.

The Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster was closed at the time of the incident, since lightning had been detected several miles away.

“The coaster is grounded and we were not operating at the time of the incident. We closely monitor weather and shut operations down till storms pass through,” the business posted on its social media site. “Our hearts and prayers go out to them and their families.”

Avery County had been under a severe thunderstorm warning from 3:44 p.m. until 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday, July 21, according to the National Weather Service office in Greenville/Spartanburg, SC.

Avery County EMS, Banner Elk Volunteer Fire Department, Linville Central Rescue Squad, Sugar Mountain Police Department, Avery Fire Marshal, Seven Devils Police Department, Avery County Sheriff’s Office and Linville Fire Department responded to the incident. The call was cleared at 4:44 p.m.

Recommended for you

(2) comments

Horsecreeker

They were merely shocked, not electrocuted. Electrocution is invariably fatal.

I am certainly glad they were not electrocuted, and no doubt there are as well.

Horsecreeker

I meant to write "no doubt THEY are as well." A little proofreading would have put that right, but then I am just the reader of a newspaper, not the editor of one.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.