The Teton Interagency Helitack helicopter. Photo: TCSAR

WYOMING — Teton County Search and Rescue (TCSAR) released more information this afternoon regarding the lightning strike fatality that occurred in the Teton Wilderness on Tuesday evening.

TCSAR was notified at 6:25 p.m. on Aug. 2 of the incidient that involved a 22-year-old male, who died in the incident, while another male sustained major injuries.

According to Search and Rescue, the lightning bolt reportedly hit the backpackers at camp. The men were part of a group of 14 adults on an NOLS trip.

“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 are focused on supporting their family through this difficult process,” said Terri Watson president of NOLS.

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. 

The helicopter did two flights out. In the first, the ship flew the injured patient and one SAR member out of the backcountry. The injured patient was transferred to an ambulance in Moran, transported to St. John’s Health and then flown to Eastern Idaho Medical Center. The helicopter returned to the scene for a second flight and transported the deceased patient to the Jackson Hole Airport, where he was met by the Teton County Coroner.

TCSAR is not releasing the name or residence of the deceased out of repsect for the family.

Due to nightfall and inclement weather, the helicopter could not return to the scene on Tuesday. The two remaining SAR members stayed overnight to manage the scene and provide support to the other members of the party.

In the morning, the TCSAR volunteers on scene communicated to Incident Command that two additional members of the party would need an air evac from the backcountry. Enos Lake is a 12-mile hike from the Pacific Creek Trailhead.

“There was concern that the two individuals would not be able to make it due to acute emotional reaction and medical concerns exacerbated by the long hike out,” said TCSAR.

TCSAR again requested the interagency helicopter, but lingering fog delayed a flight until after 11 a.m. When the weather cleared, the interagency helicopter flew to the site and picked up the two additional patients and two SAR members and transported them out of the backcountry. The remaining members of the party hiked out.

She's a lover of alliteration, easy-to-follow recipes and board games when everyone knows the rules. Her favorite aspect about living in the Tetons is the collective admiration that Wyomingites share for the land and the life that it sustains.