Lightning kills 1 during outdoor leadership training in Wyoming



JACKSON, Wyoming — A lightning strike on an outdoor educator course in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest killed one student and injured another, officials said.

The group with the National Outdoor Leadership School was just days away from their trip and had set up camp near Enos Lake, south of Yellowstone National Park, when a thunderstorm moved through the area on Tuesday night .

John D. Murphy, 22, of Boston died of cardiac arrest due to lightning, Teton County Coroner Brent Blue said Thursday. Blue was unsure if the lightning struck Murphy directly or passed through something else to him.

The injured student was airlifted to a hospital in Idaho for treatment and released on Wednesday, Shana Tarter, the school’s associate director for wilderness medicine, told the Jackson Hole News & Guide.

Nine other students, three instructors and two search-and-rescue members spent the night in the backcountry after the lightning struck, school officials said.

Two people on the trail who didn’t think they would be able to make the 12-mile hike from the lake to the trailhead were airlifted Wednesday morning and the rest of the group hiked, said Matt Hansen of Teton County Search and Rescue.

In a statement, National Outdoor Leadership School President Terry Watson called the lightning strike a “very sad day” for the school, its students and their families.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the family of our student who died during this course and strive to support their family through this difficult process,” she said.

The non-profit World Nature School based in Lander, Wyoming teaches students to become outdoor educators. More than 330,000 students have graduated and there have been 13 deaths in school events during its 57-year history, the school said.

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