Twenty-three boy scouts and three camp counselors were struck by lightning on Monday after taking refuge in a lean-to during a thunderstorm at a leadership conference. The scouts, ages 12-16, were treated for electric-shock injuries, and three minors suffered from “somewhat serious” burns, the New Hampshire Union Leader reports.
The scouts, who were attending Camp Bell at Griswold Scout Reservation in Gilmanton Ironworks, N.H., were struck by lightning around 7:30 p.m. “All 23 of them had burns of some sort,” Fire Chief David Parenti said. “…But they weren’t burned too badly, really.”
The injured campers were transported to a local fire station in Belmont and an estimated two-dozen ambulances were dispatched to take them to local hospitals after officials released a “mass casualties alert.” Officials confirmed the majority of the injuries were feet and finger burns, serious injuries were located in the chest area of six patients. According to WMUR-TV, no one was directly hit by the lightning, but many campers reported feeling “tingling and burning sensations” following the strike.
The injured camp counselors reportedly refused emergency medical services to help treat the campers first. Daniel Webster Scout Council spokesman Greg Osborne told the Union Leader that all those struck by lightning remained “conscious and alert and stable.”
This isn't the first time boy scouts have been struck by lightning. The families of two minors sued the Boy Scouts of America in September 2012, after they were struck and injured by lightning during a camping trip at National Parks Council in Utah in 2011. The families' lawsuit claimed scout leaders failed to evaluate the safety risks of camping in an area forecasted to be hit by a thunderstorm, KSL-TV reported.