Lightning strike hits couple in tent at Acadia

Posted July 01, 2012, at 3 p.m.

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, Maine — A lightning strike Friday night at Blackwoods Campground injured a couple sleeping in a tent.

Richard Rechholtz, a park ranger supervisor, said Sunday that the storm produced lightning that struck a vehicle at the campground.

The electrical current “somehow transferred to the tent” the couple was sleeping in, he said. The unnamed man felt a burning in his feet, which then was felt by the unnamed woman in her shoulder.

Rechholtz said the man had his arm around the woman, which apparently allowed the current to travel from him to her. Both were transported by ambulance to an area hospital, but their injuries are not believed to be serious, he said.

Rechholtz said as visitation at the park peaks, so do the mishaps of hikers, bikers and explorers.

One such injury occurred at about 2 p.m. Saturday in a cave on the shore near Schooner Head. A 49-year-old man was exploring the cave and slipped on seaweed and fell, breaking a bone in the lower part of his leg. The man used his cellphone to call 911, and 10 park rangers, emergency response workers from Bar Harbor ambulance and fire departments and the MDI Search and Rescue team responded.

It took nearly 90 minutes to move the man with a litter from the cave to an ambulance, where he was taken to Bar Harbor Hospital. The tide was coming in, adding further urgency to the rescue.

“It’s a tough place to do a rescue,” Rechholtz said of the cave, which park officials try to discourage people from exploring.

On Friday afternoon, a ranger had to assist a 19-year-old man who had fallen off a bicycle on one of the park’s carriage roads. The man suffered a cut to his chin, but because he was on blood-thinning medication, he had to be treated urgently to stop the bleeding.

Rechholtz urged all those using bikes to wear safety helmets.

Also on Friday afternoon, an older woman suffered an ankle injury on Beech Mountain and had to be carried out to a vehicle by rangers.

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