Four injured in Lake District by freak lightning strikes

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The Independent Online

Four people were taken to hospital after being struck by lightning in the Lake District, the Royal Navy said yesterday.

Emergency and rescue services were called to three incidents in hillside locations between 3pm and 3.35pm on Wednesday.

A helicopter from HMS Gannet at Prestwick, Ayrshire, was sent out after reports that a man had hurt his shoulder in an unconnected incident near Langdale, Cumbria. While in the air, the crew were alerted to the spate of lightning strikes in Grasmoor, Crag Hill and Whiteless Pike.

A Royal Navy spokeswoman said: "The first incident was at 3pm when a male walker seemed to be suffering from the effects of shock from a strike. He was being airlifted when we immediately got a call to a party of three people on Crag Hill, two of whom were injured."

One man in his fifties was said to have been thrown 30ft in the air by a mini-explosion at Grasmoor, while eight people were thrown to the ground at Crag Hill.

The crew were then called out to rescue a woman in her thirties who had been struck on the head and suffered burns at Whiteless Pike.

Mike Park, a team leader with Cockermouth mountain rescue team, said it appeared that the lightning had left through her foot as she had injuries to her ankle.

He said it was rare for people to be struck by lightning in the mountains. "Mountain rescue teams get involved with one or two such incidents a year. For this to happen to three separate parties in that short space of time is really amazing," he said.

It is thought that none of the casualties were seriously injured.