A young man who was mountain biking southwest of Telluride over the weekend has perished as the result of a lightning strike in the Lizard Head Wilderness.
The man has since been identified as 24 year-old, John Daniel Huisjen of Durango, Colorado. The strike occurred right before noon on the East Fork Trail. Huiskjen was accompanied by his girlfriend when the fatal lightning strike occurred.
After the strike, Huiskjen’s girlfriend ran to find help. She ultimately found an off-duty EMT, who accompanied by other bystanders assisted in performing CPR and other life saving measures. Those efforts ultimately proved unsuccessful. Bill Masters, the sheriff for San Miguel County, thanked all those who attempted to save the victim’s life. “[They] did everything they could for this young man.”
San Miguel Sheriff’s Department Release
August 13, 2017 — (Lizard Head Wilderness, CO) – A 24 year-old Colorado man was struck and killed by lightening while mountain biking on a trail outside Telluride with his girlfriend. She survived and was treated and transported by Telluride EMS with what were believed to be non-life threatening injuries.
An off-duty Telluride EMT told Deputies he was biking with a friend on the East Fork Trail near the Lizard Head Wilderness when a storm moved in with multiple lightening strikes in the immediate area. They, as well as others in the area attempted to take shelter below tree line.
He said they were 100 yards away from the other party when the woman ran to them asking for help stating that her boyfriend had been struck by lightening. The incident occurred just before noon.
The EMT stated he ran to the patient, who was unresponsive, pulseless and breathless, started CPR and sent his friend to call 911 and see if an AED could be located. Other bystanders in the area assisted with CPR.
Deputies, Telluride EMS and Search and Rescue personnel responded and hiked up approximately one half mile to the patient. Life-saving attempts were unsuccessful.
The San Miguel County Coroner made notification to the next of kin and released the man’s name as Mr. John Daniel Huisjen of Durango, Colorado.
Sheriff Bill Masters said, “This is a horrible tragedy. Our thoughts are with his family.”
Sheriff Masters also wanted to thank the EMT, bystanders, and all of the responders who “did everything they could for this young man.”
The Lizardhead Wilderness area is about 17 miles south of Telluride.