A family dog led relatives to two unconscious girls who were struck by lightning in a remote corner of forest land in Utah on Friday, 29.
The girls, ages 8 and 16, were hospitalized, one in critical condition and one in serious condition, respectively, Deseret News reported.
The pair left a family reunion to go on an ATV ride on Friday morning. The dog, named Spot, came along with the girls as they rode out into the Big Flat, a vast scenic area lined with aspens and firs.
The girls eventually parked and went for a walk. The lighting struck them and knocked them out on their way back, according to the Beaver County Sheriff’s Office.
Spot ran back to camp and led the family to the uncoscious girls, who then notified the police at about 10:45 a.m.
A pilot with the Utah Department of Public safety who was flying with biologists working on a study was called in to help.
He flew the girls to Beaver Valley Hospital. They were airlifted to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City.
The girls’ family is from Payson and Mapleton.
“We just happened to be in the right place at the right time,” Bret Hutchings, the pilot, said.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, the area has an elevation of 10,000 and is popular for camping, hunting, and off-roading.
Higher elevations can increase the chances of a lighting strike, according to the National Weather Service (NWS), which advises people to avoid being the tallest thing in an open field.
“Out in the West, where we’re up in the mountains, we’re more exposed than in a lot of other places in the country,” said Randy Graham, NWS meteorologist in charge. “It’s a very real and dangerous situation.”
The dog’s breed is unknown.