NH Boy Scouts back at camp after lightning strike

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June 25, 2013, 6:49 pm
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(NECN: Lauren Collins, Gilmanton, N.H.) - Boy Scout troop leader Mike Burns heard a large boom and saw a flash of orange and white light.  
"We knew immediately it was a lightning strike," he says.

What wasn't immediately clear Monday night was how many Boy Scouts had soaked up the charge of that strike while huddled under a tarp at Camp Bell in Gilmanton, N.H.  

"As we came out from under that (tarp), then we noticed on some of the scouts we had soreness and stiffness," says Burns.

When the storm cleared, 23 teenaged Scouts and three leaders reported symptoms. Many had a tingling sensation and some had marks like a spider web on their skin, which Dr. Jonathan Vacik at Catholic Medical Center in Manchester says is a burn.  

"That actually is a very classic appearance. If you do have an external manifestation of the burn on your skin it will sort of appear like a lacy spidery burn," Dr. Vacik says.  

The lightening appears to have struck one tree, traveled under the scouts, and left through another tree.  Burns watched and felt it, "in my mouth, through my jaw, through my legs. I felt a Charlie horse, especially in my right leg, kind of stiffly drew me together."  
A nurse and two EMTs on site checked out the injured before they went to area hospitals.  

Leadership Course Director Gerard Boyle says "most of them were released. All but six were released from the hospital last night."  

And only one remains Tuesday afternoon as a precaution. Everyone else returned. These scouts are a part of a leadership course and worked hard to get here. Now they realize the benefit of the scout motto of "be prepared."  

"Everything turned out extremely well because we were prepared for this event," says Boyle.  

Prepared - yes. Lucky - most definitely.

Tags: new hampshire, Lauren Collins, Boy Scouts, Mike Burns, Gilmanton, Camp Bell, Dr Jonathan Vacik
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