A hike last weekend in the NC Mountains ends in tragedy as lightning hits a couple killing Bethany Lott. Bethany and her boyfriend Richard Butler were hiking at Max Patch Bald where he planned to propose to her when they reached the top.

Lightning struck three times as the Knoxville, Tenn., couple were on Max Patch Bald, near Asheville. The third hit Butler, 30, and his girlfriend, Bethany Lott, 25, killing her on Friday, he told the Asheville Citizen Times. He suffered third degree burns.
“She didn’t say anything, and I turned around and she was laying a few feet away, and I crawled to her,” he told the newspaper on Monday. “I did CPR for probably 15 minutes and the whole time was trying her cell phone, but I couldn’t get anything out.”

Citizens Times
I can’t imagine the hell this experience had to be for Richard going from what should have been one of the best days of your life to seeing the love of your life die suddenly in front of you. Such a tragedy on what should have been a great day. Our thoughts and prayers are with Richard, the families and all their friends as they try to make sense of this accident.
North Carolina is number 4 in the ranking of states with the most fatalities from lightning. People engaged in outside activities when storms come up need to action to avoid the potential of getting struck. When possible your best bet is to get inside away from the storm but that is not always possible especially if you’re out hiking so seek a safe location.

Lightning Safety Tips
AVOID: Avoid water. Avoid all metallic objects. Avoid the high ground. Avoid solitary tall trees. Avoid close contact with others – spread out 15-20 ft. apart. Avoid contact with dissimilar objects (water & land; boat & land; rock & ground; tree & ground). Avoid open spaces.
SEEK: Seek clumps of shrubs or trees of uniform height. Seek ditches, trenches or the low ground. Seek a low, crouching position with feet together with hands on ears to minimize acoujstic shock from thunder.
KEEP: Keep a high level of safety awareness for thirty minutes after the last observed lightning or thunder.

Sierra Pack Trip
Lightning strikes often send victims into cardiac arrest , cause burns, and other trauma so you should be prepared to provide CPR and First Aid. Many organizations offer wilderness first aid classes as well as traditional first aid and CPR classes. Check with organizations like the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association for training opportunities as well as outdoor equipment companies like REI offer some training from time to time.