The NOLS Outdoor Education Course notified Teton County Search and Rescue (TCSAR) at 6:25 p.m. on Tuesday, August 2, that lightning had struck a group of backpackers camped at Enos Lake in the Teton Wilderness. 


One person, a 22-year-old male, died in the incident, while another, an adult male, sustained major injuries. The lightning bolt reportedly hit the backpackers at camp. The men were part of a group of 14 adults on an organized wilderness trip, according to a written statement by the Teton County Search and Rescue

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TCSAR mobilized a response by issuing a request for the interagency helicopter from Teton Helitack. The request was approved and the helicopter flew three SAR volunteers to the site on Tuesday evening. CPR had been in progress for more than an hour when the ship landed with the SAR team members. TCSAR members took over, but the patient could not be revived.


Both the deceased student and a second adult student who was also injured were flown to Jackson, Wyoming within four hours of the incident according to a press release from NOLS Outdoor Education Course.


“This is a very sad day for NOLS, our students and our families. We extend our deepest condolences to the family of our student who passed away on this course and we are focused on supporting their family through this difficult process,” said Terri Watson, president of NOLS. 


Watson said, “Out of respect, we will not release the names of those involved in this incident and we ask everyone to respect the privacy wishes of family and friends through this process.


“Our entire team is saddened by this tragedy and extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends impacted. We also want to thank Teton Helitack and Grand Teton National Park for their assistance in this complex mission.”


In a follow-up statement on Facebook the TCSAR shared a list of tips from local meteorologist Jim Woodmencey to address what to do if you are in the backcountry during lightning activity. 




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