An Illinois woman is in critical condition after being struck by lightning at the Country Thunder Music Festival in Kenosha County, Wisconsin.
The incident took place in the early morning hours on Friday, when authorities said 22-year-old Brittney Prehn was struck by lightning. As the Daily Herald reported, the woman was on her cell phone at the time she was struck by lightning, but authorities said she was not doing anything unsafe.
The woman was taken to Northern Illinois Medical Center before being moved to the Loyola University Medical Center, where she was listed in critical condition. Police said they had a difficult time identifying Prehn at first as she did not have identification, but they were eventually able to identify her when the woman’s parents reached out.
Medical staff who treated the woman on the scene said it appeared that the lightning struck the cell phone and then traveled into the woman’s body.
“It almost appears she was struck while talking on the phone. There’s significant damage to the phone that caused the damage to her face, and the electricity exit was through her foot,” a medic at the hospital told ABC 7.
The news outlet published pictures of the woman’s cell phone and leather shoe, which were both scorched from the lightning strike.
— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) July 20, 2018
Witnesses said the powerful thunderstorm moved quickly into the area, leaving many people unprepared.
“I just heard a huge lightning bolt,” said Robert Kruse, who was at a nearby campground. “Me and a friend walked out and every cop rushed over there. Her shoe exploded off; her other shoe was all black and burnt.”
Others said the thunderstorms made for some terrifying moments.
“It was pretty scary, honestly,” added Nick Bauer. “It happened a few times. A lot of thunder and right by us, huge cracks.”
The storm that struck the Country Thunder Music Festival was part of a long line of storms that swept across the Midwest on Thursday and early Friday morning. Another fast-moving storm was blamed for a Ride the Ducks boat that capsized on a lake outside Branson, Missouri, killing 17 people. The boat was overcome by heavy waves and sunk.
Brittney Krehn was listed in critical condition on Friday morning and was in the hospital’s intensive care unit. Police are still investigating the incident, and have asked anyone with more information to call the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department at 262-605-5100.