Four people have been taken to hospital after they were struck by lightning while walking in Australia’s Blue Mountains.
The incident happened at 3:15pm yesterday as the group were walking along the Three Sisters track in the national park, and holding onto a steel handrail.
All four were able to walk out of the trail to the nearby Echo Point Visitor Information Centre, where staff called an ambulance. Paramedics then took the group, who are all in their 20s, to Katoomba hospital.
Two women and a man have since been discharged. The fourth member of the group – a 22-year-old woman who fell and hit her head after the lightning struck, remains in hospital, but is believed to be in a stable condition.
In a statement, Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill said, “I am proud of council staff for their quick thinking during this incident. As always, we are grateful for the wonderful emergency services personnel we have in the Blue Mountains.
“I ask people to take care for your own safety and the safety of others. Take precautions when outside, including driving safely and watching out for any hazards including fallen trees and powerlines, flooding and water over roads.
“Given previous major rain events have caused landslides and trees to come down, we are asking residents and visitors to take extreme care when outdoors and in parks and natural areas.”
Greenhill said the storm had also caused significant damage to an information centre building at the Katoomba lookout and water was leaking through the roof.
New South Wales has seen huge flooding between Christmas and New Year, with emergency services responding to more than 2,000 incidents, including 72 flood rescues. Some areas have had more than 300 millimetres of rain in that time.
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Rosee Woodland developed a taste for adventure at a young age, growing up in a home where camping was the default holiday, and good weather was a vacation bonus rather than a necessity. After bike-packing the length of France in her mid teens with her family, she started to undertake solo forays in her 20s, usually without the benefit of much technical gear at all. Happily, the years she later spent as a mountain biking journalist eventually gave her an appreciation of decent kit! These days she loves a water-based adventure, and is an outdoor swim coach, and a keen free diver. She has a soft spot for Northern Ireland's Mourne mountains, and can also be found hiking and kayaking in Pembrokeshire and the South West of the UK.