Australian Grand Canyon Hiker Struck And Killed By Lightning

An unsuspecting 21-year-old Australian was struck and killed by a bolt of lightning on Monday while hiking at the Grand Canyon, a park official told the AP. Jonathan Crowden, a tourist from the town of Alfredton in the Australian province of Victoria, was hiking on a trail near Ooo-Aah Point during Monday when he was struck and killed by a lightning strike.

After another Grand Canyon visitor reported seeing some someone struck by lightning, paramedics were dispatched to Ooo-Ah Point and reached the scene by 4p.m., said park ranger Kirby-Lynn Shedlowski to AP. It’s not clear if Crowden was instantly killed by the lightning strike, however, attempts to resuscitate Crowden failed, leading to the Australian hiker being pronounced dead where he was found.

Further investigation into the lightning incident will be carried out by the Coconino County medical examiner and the National Park Service, reports AP.

The Grand Canyon is a wildly popular tourist destination; it attracted an estimated 4.7 million people from across America and beyond in 2014. The Grand Canyon has also proven a fatal locale for some visitors, with eight deaths already confirmed this year. As recent as August, a 51-year-old Arizonan man fell into the Colorado River and drowned during his visit the Grand Canyon National Park, reports Reuters.

The Weather Channel reports thunderstorms at the Grand Canyon until Wednesday, with sunny skies predicted to follow Thursday into next week. Considering the recent unfortunate lightning incident, it may be smart for visitors to avoid being outdoors at the Grand Canyon during the storms.

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Death by lightning is far from common; although the average person has a one in 10,000,000 (0.0000001-percent) chance of getting struck by lightning, only around 24,000 are killed by the electric bolts each year. Predictably, lightning strikes rank among with other rare ways to die, like shark attacks, plane crashes, falling coconuts (yes, really), and terrorist attacks.

Lightning doesn’t always kill when it strikes. Although about 24,000 people are killed by lightning every year, an estimated 240,000 end up struck — showing that the vast majority of those hit by lightning survive. Sadly, lightning strike survivors typically suffer from debilitating long-term effects for the rest of their lives.

Unfortunately, the 21-year-old Australian Crowden wasn’t among the lucky majority who survive lightning strikes.

[Image courtesy of Grand Canyon National Park/Flickr]