Lightning struck a couple hiking near the Arctic Valley ski area Tuesday evening, prompting an extensive backcountry rescue, according to the Anchorage Fire Department.
The 25-year-old man was able to walk down on his own, accompanied by two firefighters. The woman, 23, was more seriously injured. She was unable to walk down, prompting firefighters to launch a nearly three-hour operation that involved a six-man team carrying her down to the ski area parking lot.
"His shoes were all blown out. He's got singed hair on his legs," police Sgt. Mike Kerle said. "He said he woke up and his girlfriend was 15 feet away."
The report initially came across as a pair of hikers who had fallen from a ridge. But that was apparently because they themselves didn't know they had been zapped.
Citing "damage caused by heat and fire," battalion chief Bridget Bushue said lightning had apparently caught the couple unaware.
"It was a lighting strike," Bushue said. "I don't know if the lightning struck them directly or indirectly."
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