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The Great Smoky Mountain Journal

Tuesday, January 01, 2019 03:03 PM

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Four People Suffers Minor Burns After Being Hit By Lightning Friday While Rafting In Carter County Near Elizabethton

 A rafting company is now speaking out after four people suffered minor burns after getting hit by lightning Friday while rafting in Carter County, CBS affiliate WJHL reports.

The family was rafting on the Watagua River when severe weather hit near Blue Springs Road. According to WJHL, a 32-year-old, 29-year-old, five-year-old and one-year-old were hit by lightning while riding out the storm under a tree.

Rescue crews and multiple EMS units arrived on scene around 3 p.m., according to Thomas Gray, spokesperson for the Carter County Sheriff's Office.

River and Earth Adventures' director Grant Seldomridge said nature is unpredictable and they're lucky that nobody else was injured in this freak accident.

"We weren't safe on the water and obviously we weren't safe on land either. There was no place for shelter basically," Seldomridge said.

The director said all guides are trained for these situations, and when the family was injured by lightning they were in the process of getting all the rafters off the water and into a nearby barn. That's when Seldomridge said lightning and rain bombarded them.

"Being on the river all holding metal paddles, really we made the best decision possible at the time," he said.

The family went to the hospital for treatment, Seldomridge said he checked in with them on Friday, and although they were still shaken up they were in good spirits.