A Colorado bride, married less than a week, was killed by lightning while hiking on Mount Yale, a 14,000-foot mountain in the Collegiate Peaks in the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains. Hundreds of lightning bolts were recorded as touching ground during an intense storm; one of the strikes hit and killed the recently married bride.
The newly married bride, identified as 31-year-old Kathleen Bartlett, was hiking with her husband, 32-year-old Ryan Pocius, on July 17 when a lightning bolt hit Bartlett, killing her instantly.
Writes the Denver Post: “They were newlyweds united in part by a love for the outdoors, and just days after their July 11 wedding at the Denver Botanic Gardens, the couple went for a hike on Mount Yale. Kathleen Bartlett and Ryan Pocius were just above tree line Friday afternoon when, in a flash, everything changed.”
The couple was at an elevation of approximately 12,000 feet and in an open area when the lighting strike hit at approximately 1:15. Limited cell service meant witnesses had to hike to a higher elevation to get a signal through. The 911 call wasn’t made until approximately 45 minutes later. Because of weather, emergency crews and a rescue helicopter took nearly three hours to reach the injured couple.
Chaffee County authorities however said Bartlett died instantly.
Pocius was hit by the lightning as well but released from the hospital two days later. Less than a week into his marriage, he is now a widower.
The Denver Post added that two additional hikers were also hit by the strike but only suffered minor injuries and were well enough to “self-evacuate.”
Bartlett’s friend Deborah Young said, “She was just so in love and so grateful and just so happy. The pain Ryan must be feeling, I can’t even imagine.”
“We ended up having more things in common than we first thought, including a shared appreciation for kids’ movies, yoga, sarcasm and love for the outdoors,” Bartlett wrote on the couple’s page on theknot.com. “It became apparent very quickly that we had both found ‘our person.’ Six months after we started dating seriously, we found ourselves engaged and the rest is history!”
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Bartlett becomes the 21st lightning strike fatality in the state of Colorado over the last decade. (The video cites the wrong time period.) Adds the Coloradoan:
From 2005-2014, Colorado had the third-most lightning-strike fatalities of any state, with 17. Another 15 were injured, according to the National Weather Service. Florida is by far the most dangerous state for lightning, averaging more than 10 deaths per year. According to the National Weather Service, more than 70 percent of all fatal lightning strikes in the U.S. occur in June, July and August.