ST. CROIX COUNTY, Wis. - Two men were taken to a hospital after an incident at a bachelor party. It happened at a paintball course in Hudson.
Splat Tag has been in business for more than 20 years. On Friday morning, a group of 14 went into the woods with a referee to play capture the flag. But the game ended quickly when lightning struck and injured two men.
Owner Darrin Johnson said this has never happened before at the park. He rushed to the park after receiving a call from his staff.
He said two staff members told him the weather changed quickly. They heard a crashign sound and then one heard a man yelling for help.
"We play in the rain, we like to say 'rain, sleet or snow' but if you're seeing direct lightning we're not going to play," said Johnson, about the park's policy. He said because of this incident, he and staff are reviewing their weather protocol.
Scott Knudson, Chief Deputy of the St. Croix County Sheriff's Office, said crews were called at around 11:30 a.m. On scene, they found a 33 year old man and another man in his 40s with burns on their chests and their sides. They were taken to Regions Hospital.
"Around 75 to 100 people per year in the United States die from lightning strikes," said burn surgeon, Dr. Jon Gayken, at Hennepin County Medical Center. He said the indirect hits to people are most common. We don't know if that happened in Friday's case, but he commonly sees burns on victims in those cases.
"The most common long term problem or things that people have are neurological sort of numbness, tinglings, things of that nature," he said.
Dr. Gayken said a majority of people who are directly hit by lightning don't survive and when they do, many suffer from severe injuries to organs and can lead to amputations or disfigurements of parts of the body.
He said you don't have to see lightning to be struck. The key is to get inside and stay away from windows.
Johnson said he couldn't find any sign of burn marks in the woods where the men were playing paintball.
He is hoping someone can contact him with an update on the men's conditions.
"I really hope they're okay. My family and I are praying for them," he said.
Chief Deputy Knudson said a deputy patrolling near the area of the paintball park reported seeing lightning one or two minutes before the call for help came in.
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