Scouts-L Mail Archive for August of 1999: Re: Lightning while camping
Re: Lightning while camping
Mon, 9 Aug 1999 06:26:34 +0000
What would you have done if a whole troop of boys were
>camping in a similar spot and a bad storm came up?
I was a participant in Cub Trainer Wood Badge course SR-CS-7 at Camp
Binaci, Mississippi three years ago when the Bear Den got struck by
lightning. The storm had three lightning bolts total and five to ten
minutes of Southern Style Frog strangler rain. The Bear Den was doing
exactly what we in the Buffalo Den were doing at the time. It was just
after lunch and we all climbed up on top of the picnic tables under a
canvas tarp and worked to keep the water from pooling and dumping on us
soaking us. The Den area was a small clearing about thirty yards in
diameter with the tents around the edge and the two picnic tables in the
center covered by canvas. It was proably half mile to the the common area
where the dinning hall was located. The conditions between us and the
building were about the same as where we were. Tall pine trees of all
about the same hight. What we did seemed about as safe as anything except
for one thing, in my opinion. We should have spread out. Everything
happened real quick and the Bear Den was only about 75 yards from us thru
the woods. The bolt of lightning struck a tall pine traveled down that
pine and either thru the root system of thru the ground a distance of about
fifty feet, up the iron legs of the picnic table and thru the wooded boards
and then thru the Scouters bodies, making entrace and exit wounds, blowing
them off the picnic table and face down in the mud. One was in cardiac
arrest and another was having seizures. Four of the remaining six found
they were paralized. By some quirk the other two were left standing. One
Scouter ran to the common area for help while the other did her best to get
her Den mates rolled over and their airways cleared so they could breath.
The staff got there quick and ambulances arrived in short order with the
staff using the tents to carry the injured to the ambulances.
Since then I have read alot about the subject and questioned myself about
what should have been done. If I knew it were all going to happen just
like it did again and I had thirty seconds to react, my conclusion is to
spread out. We should have gone to our tents as far from each other as we
could get. I don't think you can predict with accuracy where lightning
will strike. Avoid the obvious dangers that we all know and spread out.
Hope this helps someone.
Yours in Scouting,
Scoutmaster Troop 86
And a Good Ol' Buffalo Too...
Scoutmaster Troop 86
Land of Texas