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Campers struck by lightning

Four youth attending a church family camp were injured last week when they were struck by lightning.

According to the Montcalm County Sheriff Department, the kids, ranging in age from 10 to 14 years old, were at Rock Lake Methodist Bible Church Camp at 8227 Pine Grove Road in Richland Township, near Vestaburg when the accident happened on July 15. Police said the four were standing near a baseball field huddled under an umbrella when the lightning struck.

According to Blake Jones, public information officer for the church, there had previously been a ball game in progress when the rain hit. “The rain came up fast, so the game broke up and everyone went inside,” explained Jones. “The older two went back outside because they decided they wanted to play in the rain, and the younger two decided to bring them an umbrella. I guess it acted like a lightning rod.”

All four were knocked to the ground and suffered burns and numbness to their extremities. Two of the victims were flown by Aero Med to Spectrum Butterworth in Grand Rapids, and the other two were taken to local hospitals for treatment.

Jones said they all returned to family camp for a service of praise and thanksgiving Sunday, injured but alive. One girl was in a wheelchair. “We are thrilled with how their burns are healing,” said Jones. “They are doing well compared to how it could’ve been.”

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