Three middle school students in Chicago have been hospitalized after getting hit by lightning in the neighborhood of Round Lake Heights while standing at a school bus stop.
The lightning strike took place on the morning of Thursday, Sept. 20, at around 7:20 a.m. near Lotus and Ottawa Drives.
The children were rushed to Condell Medical Center in Libertyville; one of them is in serious condition while the two others are in stable condition, reported WGN-TV.
The students were all responsive when emergency workers arrived at the scene and none of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening, a school official told the Chicago Tribune.
“There were approximately nine students at that particular bus stop, and there was a lightning strike near the vicinity of where they were standing,” said Alex Barbour, assistant superintendent of Lake Villa Community Consolidated School District 41.
“There is no evidence that it hit the tree they were standing beneath—such as cracked limbs or cracked tree trunk.”
Carrington Monk is one of 3 girls who her mom says were knocked unconscious after lightning struck a tree they were standing under in Round Lake Hts. The 13-year-old will be OK but will be kept in Hosp. overnight for observation. @cbschicago #RoundLakeHeights #RoundLake pic.twitter.com/ZhANnM1vSj
— Mike Puccinelli (@MPuccinelliCBS2) September 20, 2018
Shelter From Rain
The students were likely under the tree near the bus stop to seek shelter from the rain.
A witness told ABC 7 that she heard the strike and then saw a girl lying on the ground.
“We heard the lightning strike…We saw kids running across the street for shelter under the tree there was a girl lying on the ground,” said Adriana Argueta.
Round Lake Fire Department Deputy Chief Joe Krueger said that most of the children at the bus stop ran away after the strike.
“A number of students fled the scene right after the strike,” he said, adding, “they ran home and got transported to school by other methods.”
Officials are working to contact all of the students who were there when the strike hit to make sure no one else was injured.
The mother of one of the victims, 13-year-old Carrington Monk, told CBS that her daughter was knocked unconscious but would be okay. Monk will be in the hospital overnight.
Lightning strikes have the potential to be deadly, according to the National Weather Service.
There are five ways lightning strikes people, the agency said: a direct strike, a side flash, ground current, conduction, and streamers.
A direct strike is when a person is struck directly by lightning, which usually happens in open areas. A side flash occurs when lightning strikes a taller object near the victim and a portion of the current jumps to the victim. “Most often, side flash victims have taken shelter under a tree to avoid rain or hail,” the service stated.
Ground currents are when lightning strikes an object such as a tree and most of the energy travels outward in and along the ground surface. Conduction is when lightning travels in wires or other metal surfaces. Streamers develop when lightning moves downward and a portion branches off from the leader.
According to the NWS, lightning strikes the United States about 25 million times, killing an average of 47 people, and injuring hundreds more each year.