Australian man dies from suspected lightning strike at Grand Canyon

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 14, 2015 10:06 PM

PHOENIX (Reuters) - A 21-year-old Australian man was killed by what was believed to be a lightning strike while hiking a popular trial at Grand Canyon National Park, a park official said on Monday.

Jonathan Crowden of Alfredton had been hiking alone late on Sunday afternoon before his body was found about 1 mile (1.6 km) down the South Kaibab Trail, said park spokeswoman Kirby-Lynn Shedlowski.

Paramedics were sent to the area near Ooo-Aah Point at about 4 p.m. after a witness called the canyon’s communication center to report that a man had possibly been struck by lightning, Shedlowski said.

Efforts to resuscitate Crowden were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at the scene, she said.

The National Park Service and the Coconino County Medical Examiner are investigating the death.

The incident marks the eighth confirmed death at the park this year. On Aug. 28, a 51-year-old Arizona man fell to his death while hiking near the Colorado River.

The canyon is one of the world’s most frequented outdoor tourist venues and it attracted more than 4.7 million visitors in 2014.

(Reporting by David Schwartz in Phoenix; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Bill Trott)