Man visiting from Austria struck by lightning near Donner Summit

Photo courtesy: California Highway Patrol - Valley Division Air Operations

A man visiting from Austria was struck by lightning while hiking near Donner Summit on Tuesday, according to an officer with California Highway Patrol.

Officer David White said in a statement that a helicopter crew received a report of a lightning strike victim in the remote area of Tinkers Knob at about 2 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 22.

The crew responded and found the victim, who had difficulty walking, and a paramedic helped him into the helicopter.

The victim, identified as a man between 25 and 30 from Innsbruck, Austria, suffered major burns throughout his body, White said. He was first taken to Tahoe Forest Hospital for evaluation, then flown to the UC Davis Burn Center via Care Flight for further treatment.

Authorities learned the victim and his girlfriend were hiking with a friend from Donner Summit to Squaw Valley. According to the girlfriend, there were no signs of a thunderstorm during their hike.

The friend, who is from Fairfield, California, said he was familiar with the hike and did not see any indication of lightning. All three were experienced hikers as well, and after the victim was struck, the other two remained off the ridge and called 911.

Authorities ask hikers to check the weather before going into the mountains. If lightning is expected, you should stay off granite boulders and peaks.

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