Crews and employees from all corners of the park responded to the scene after an interpretive ranger called park dispatch at approximately 4:30 p.m. to report that a group of hikers was believed to have been hit by lightning on the St. Mary Falls Trail.
Located 10 1/2 miles west of the St. Mary entrance to the park, St. Mary Falls is less than a mile off of Going-to-the-Sun Road, making the trail an easy and popular hike for park visitors.
The three victims were about three-quarters of a mile from the trailhead. Germann said bystanders initiated CPR while park medics were flown to the scene.
Park employees and Glacier County sheriff’s personnel used stretchers to hand-carry all three to the trailhead near Going-to-the-Sun Road, where they were met by the helicopter and ambulance.
A thunderstorm, complete with high winds and low clouds and visibility, hit Great Falls early Wednesday evening according to the National Weather Service, and was likely the reason the Mercy Flight helicopter was unable to respond.