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Photo: San Miguel Sheriff

“A 24 year-old Colorado man was struck and killed by lightning while mountain biking on a trail outside Telluride with his girlfriend,” according to a statement by the San Miguel County Sheriff’s office. Mr. John Daniel Huisjen of Durango, Colorado was the victim.

Just before noon a storm rolled in with multiple lightning strikes, and several different parties attempted to take shelter below treeline.

According to the Telluride Daily PlanetHuisjen was with his girlfriend, and she “reported that there was a loud crack nearby, and that she and Huisjen talked about the event for a minute when suddenly he went unconscious.” The girlfriend tried to perform CPR for five minutes, but was not successful.

An off-duty EMT from Telluride was also riding in the area, and Huisjen’s girlfriend ran to their party, asking for help, “stating that her boyfriend had been struck by lightning,” according to the Sheriff’s office. The EMT attempted to resuscitate Huisjen while a friend went to call 911, and tried to locate an AED. Other bystanders helped with the CPR efforts as they waited for first responders to arrive. Deputies, Telluride EMS, and Search and Rescue personnel also attempted to resuscitate Huisjen when they arrived, but they were unsuccessful. He died on the scene.

Sheriff Bill Masters said, “This is a horrible tragedy. Our thoughts are with his family.”

According to the Telluride Daily, “the cause and manner of death are being investigated, the Coroner’s Office said.”

For information on how to stay safe while mountain biking at high altitude, be sure to read John Fisch’s article “High Altitude Mountain Biking: Risk and Reward.”

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