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Lightning kills two campers
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“SALT LAKE CITY - A mother and father who made the mistake of taking shelter from a storm under a tree were killed instantly — right before their three youngsters' eyes.
Richard and Lisa Goff died Saturday evening when a thunderstorm with hail, hard rain and a barrage of lightning bolts hit the campground at Crystal Lake, about 60 miles east of Salt Lake City.
The children, 9-year-old Dakota and his sisters Makenzie, 5, and Megan, 18 months, "were basically incoherent" when rescuers arrived, Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds said. "They had just seen their parents killed. They were in shock."
The parents, both 34, were sitting on metal chairs when the bolt came down, the woman's sister, Lori Ostler, told KUTV-TV of Salt Lake City. The location is at the 10,000-foot level in the Uinta Mountains.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's tips for safety during lightning storms specifically warn against taking shelter under a tree, and tell people to avoid metal objects such as fences or tennis rackets.
For the children, who were hospitalized in good condition, the loss started to sink in Sunday.
"The little girl said several times that she wished her mother was there, but knew she couldn't be," said the family's clerical leader, Bishop Walter Ewell of the Westbrook First Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It wasn't clear which girl he was referring to.
"When her grandmother came, she cried and said she knew her mother would never be with her again."
Friends said Megan would cling to her mother and rarely went to anyone else. "It is going to be tough for them," Ewell said.
The children were expected to be released to their grandparents.
"I can deal with one, either of them. I can deal with that. But when both are taken, it's incredible," Ostler told KUTV. "How do you begin to keep this family intact? You tell the little boy who saw his parents get killed that they won't be back, they're gone."
Rick Goff worked in an auto body shop and his wife was a homemaker. Friends said the family loved boating, fishing, camping, hiking and water skiing.
"If it was an outdoorsy thing, they did it. They loved riding four-wheelers, snowmobiling, just essentially all the outdoor sports," said Eric Hansen, a friend.
With their deaths, 66 people have died in Utah from lightning in the past 52 years, and 130 have been injured. More than half of incidents have happened in July and August.”
“They weren't campers.... they would know better.”
“Took shelter under a tree at 10,000' while sitting in metal chairs? As tragic as this story is, that wasn't the brightest thing to do.”
“Pay attention to the weather dumbasses.”
“When did common sense die out?”
“I think this is all Bush's fault.”
I think it was when that woman sued McDonalds when she spilled hot coffee in her lap.”
“What I am wondering about with this story is: "Why were the parents seeking shelter under the tree" (assuming that was their intent) and "why did they leave the kids out in the storm (again assuming they sought shelter under the tree)?
While it is tragic that they were ignorant enough to take the action that they did, it is a blessing that they were not possessed to have the children huddled up on their laps.”
“People are stupid! While I feel somewhat sorry for these people, one phrase comes to mind. "Thinning the herd."”
“I heard on the weather channel that lightning is the second greatest weather related killer after flooding.
I would have thought tornandos killed more.”
“You thought wrong.”
“They won't win a Darwin since they had already pro-created.”
“I'm being a little too callous with my last comment. This is a horrible thing. I'm sure lots of us can remember things we did while gaining outdoors experience that weren't too smart. I'll grant you that I've never sat at 10k' in metal chairs, under a tree, with my children, but I've done stupid things. Regardless of how it happened it is a tragedy and I feel awful for the kids.”
“I figure if He sends a bolt of lightening for you, your time is pretty well up.
Tragic for the kids though. A positive is that the LDS folks take pretty good care of family.”
“It's funny like a cartoon.... charred, smoking hair...”
“You guys are brutal.”
“I had heard that the children were sitting on the parents laps, so they were insulated from the direct hit. It's a sad story, but they were pretty stupid.”
“Wonder if their ear drums imploded....”
Thinning the herd
“thats pretty cold. Three terrified, grief stricken children left behind due to "thinning the herd". I hope no one ever says that where those kids can hear it. My heart goes out to that family.”
“Of course it was stupid, but I'm sure I've done stupider in my life, I just didn't have to pay anywhere near that kind of a price.
Usually, we get to live and learn. It's very sad. It's also funny. If we can't laugh about the really grim things, our sense of humor is deserting us when we need it most.”
“That was cold, I admit it. Sorry, probably uncalled for. Not making fun of anyone but I have a question.
What happens when a family gets into a car and the driver is drunk, mom or dad, doesn't really matter. Car crashes into a tree and people in front seat, parents, are killed. Do we still feel sorry? In both cases, someone did something that they know is wrong.”
“Wounded Knee, I don't think the two are comparable, because I doubt that these parents were thinking, "This is the worst place to be in a storm, but I just feel lucky." I don't think they knew they were gambling with their families lives. Maybe the storm came up suddenly. Maybe they just had a mental lapse and were looking for shelter from the rain. Who knows.”
“I can remember my parents telling me earlier on in my life that if I am ever outside and I get stuck in a thunderstorm, never hang out under a tree. I know I used a bad analogy, but I couldn't think of anything quicker.”
“Lets see what group comes forward to propose to strip all the trees off all the mountains so this tragedy doesn't happen again.”
“If the forestry industry likes it, Bush would support it.”
“Bad judgement on Mom & Dads part!That sucks that the kids had to see that.
“But I'm a mother. I'm female. I'm a trauma center nurse. I'm one of those sappy, emotional types. It just made me cry. I see death, injury, carelessness, stupidity,suffering every day.
All I'd wish for those children is that somehow they are comforted and loved and care for. God rest the souls of the parents regardless. They were trying to take their kids camping and have fun. Not get killed. But you're right... my folks told me from as young as I can remember to stay clear of trees and tall objects during a storm and to see a low point safe from flash flood waters too. They tried to prepare me. How terribly sad.”
“I am sorry if my comments made you more upset Danababy. No disrespect was meant. It is sad! The children though will be raised by the grandparents and that is better that placing them with a foster parent(s)”
“Hopefully that they can hang in there until the kids are at least 18...”
“Thanks. No judging you. If I had a dime for every ugly thing I'd ever said I'd be rich. Its my response to those kinds of situations. Its no everyone's response though. Life truly is different for different people. Yes, I'm sure the kids will be provided for and loved by their extended family. Thats good. Now, will someone hand me the tissues? sniff sniff... I'm gonna try to act like a big girl now.”
“Yea, let's think about something better, like cheese.”
“I wonder how fast the cheese would have melted if they were holding on to it when they got hit.....”
“OH, well. I tried to change the subject.”
“Yep, I sure did. Sorry danababy”
“I wonder if that chairs got fused to the mountain rock.”
“incredibly stupid, especially sitting on metal chairs. also terribly sad and traumatizing for the children. you can bet THEY will never make a mistake like that. theyll probably develop some kind of lawnchairaphobia or treephobia.”
“I am sure the kids will be well taken care of. Like Shawn mentioned, mormons take care of each other. They traditionally have big, close-knit families so the kids will probably stay together and be raised by family members they know well.
Storms like this are common during the summer in the Uintah mountains and surrounding areas. There are scattered thunderheads that may or may not have lightning or rain in them. It's possible to have a sudden downpour that dumps rain and hail for less than 5 minutes, then moves on leaving blue skies and sunshine in its wake. More common, though, is dry lightning. I've seen quite a bit of it the past few days over the mountains near Salt Lake City.
I've been caught in similar thunderstorms by lakes in the same area. There really isn't much of a treeless area next to some of the lakes. You are either in the water or under the trees. However, I just stood on some rocks by the water and hoped lightning didn't strike near me. It's quite impressive. I've smelled ozone from the lightning on more than one occasion (alright, I've smelled it twice).
I was talking to one of the people who covered this story for the news that day and he was under the impression they got caught by surprise while at the lake and it happened quickly after the storm cell arrived. I don't know a lot of the details but I did hear that the kids (or at least some of them) were on their parents'laps when they got struck.
Having said all that, if they in fact were caught in a storm and had time to get out of the metal chairs and away from the trees, they should have. Bad decision or bad luck? Maybe a little of both.”
“I agree that was pretty cold. I mean my definition of thinning the herd is more like micheal hackson getting the final cosmetic surgery to accidentally kill himself or gang bangers killing each other in the streets. Now thats entertainment ...but those poor kids. They are going to be terrified of lightning and outdoors for the rest of their lives :(”
“stupid parent asdide, i acan't help but to fewel incrredibly sorry for these kids. that's the last thing in the world i would want for my 3 boys...”
“Makes you think. I think with age there's this growing resignation that my day will one day come too. You die a little everyday, not only in body but in heart and mind with stories like these.
“...or mother nature can be like a lawn mower and cut it short.”
Another lightning death
“It has now been nine years ago since my brother-in-law and his wife were killed by lightning.(this story) I hope that none of you have experienced anything similar to this tragedy in your own lives. Rest assured that as I searched the internet to feel some comfort, this thread made me a bit angry at first due to some of the comments, but more sad for the type of people some of you are. I'm sure none of you even follow this thread anymore, but ThePackMan, whoever you are, you surely had not grown up or lost a loved one, I hope that has changed in the last nine years so that you can be embarrassed by your comments.”
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