One young girl is in critical condition while a second is in a serious condition after they were Struck By Lightning Friday morning near Puffer Lake in the Big Flat area in Utah. However, it could have been much worse if the Family Dog hadn’t led the family to their location.

Family reunion in the Big Flat area goes wrong

A family was enjoying a reunion in the Big Flat area when the two girls – aged eight and 16 – decided to head off on an ATV adventure together. The family dog, Spot, joined the girls on their adventure. A statement from the Beaver County Sheriff’s Office said the girls had parked their four-wheeler and were exploring the area when they were suddenly struck by lightning and knocked unconscious.

Spot the dog goes to the rescue

As reported by the New York Daily News, fortunately, Spot the family dog was unharmed in the lightning strike and headed off back to the camp, bringing the girls’ relatives to their location. The family contacted the Beaver County Sheriff’s Office to tell them of the incident at around 10:45 a.m. The Sheriff’s office did not mention what breed Spot is.

Pilot working in the area flies girls to hospital

By chance, a pilot working with the Utah Department of Public Safety was flying around at that time with biologists studying in the area and was able to help.

Bret Hutchings flew the two girls to the Beaver Valley Hospital, from where they were then airlifted to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, 200 miles away from their camping location. Hutchings said they were in the right place at the right time for the girls. At that time, the 16-year-old girl was in a serious condition while the eight-year-old was in a critical condition in the hospital.

Higher elevations increase dangers of lightning strikes

According to the U.S. Forest Service, the area where the family was enjoying their reunion is popular for hunting, camping, and off-roading with its fields and trees. However, the camping area also has an elevation of around 10,000 feet. The Deseret News quotes the National Weather Service (NWS) as saying higher elevations like this tend to increase the chance of a lightning strike.

Randy Graham of the NWS said they urge the public to try to avoid being the “tallest thing” out there in the fields when there is lighting around. Graham went on to say, up in the mountains, people are a lot more exposed to lightning than in other areas of the country, adding that it is a “real and dangerous” situation for anyone to be in.