9 farmworkers struck by lightning in Colo.

5:17 AM, Jul 19, 2013   |    comments
Emergency workers prepare to transport an injured man on Thursday, July 18, 2013, at the site of the former Grants Family Farm in Wellington, Colo. (Photo: Dawn Madura, Fort Collins Coloradoan)
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +



FORT COLLINS, CO (USATODAY.com) -- Nine farmworkers were struck by lightning Thursday afternoon at a farm north of here.

Rescuers said the workers were in the fields when the bolt struck, knocking several of the victims unconscious. Workers who weren't hurt put the injured in cars and drove them across fields to a nearby road, where they were met by a fleet of ambulances shortly after 3:30 p.m.

Paramedics and firefighters assisted the injured even as lightning crackled above and thunder rolled across the fields. During breaks in thunder, anxious chickens huddled in converted school buses could be heard clucking and squawking.

"This was a very significant lightning storm," Wellington Fire Chief Gary Green said.

Green said two workers were taken to area hospitals in critical condition, and seven others were also transported. He said the worst-hurt victims couldn't control their muscles and "couldn't respond appropriately" to rescuers trying to help them.

A language barrier was present. Several times, rescuers called over another farmworker to help translate to and from Spanish, which some of the work crew speak exclusively. A man who identified himself as the workers' supervisor declined comment, saying he wasn't comfortable answering a reporter's questions in English.

The conditions of the injured workers was not immediately available.

The lightning strike was reported at the former Grant Family Farms in Wellington.

In Rocky Mountain National Park, meanwhile, a 65-year-old woman was struck by lightning Thursday afternoon, according to a park release. The woman was transported to Estes Park Medical Center, where her condition was not disclosed on Thursday evening.

Hughes also reports for the Fort Collins Coloradoan