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story of lightning strike at pocono

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michaeljohn

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Post Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:38 am

story of lightning strike at pocono

LONG POND, Pa. -- A spectator at Pocono Raceway was killed by a lightning strike Sunday that also sent nine other fans to area hospitals.

Pocono track president Brandon Igdalsky said Sunday evening that a fan injured by a lightning strike that occurred shortly after the weather-shortened conclusion of the Pennsylvania 400 had been pronounced dead by Dr. Peter Favini, the emergency room director at Pocono Medical Center in nearby Stroudsburg, Pa.

"Unfortunately, a member of our raceway family here, a fan, has passed away," Igdalsky said.

A violent thunderstorm struck the area Sunday afternoon, leading NASCAR officials to call the Sprint Cup event after 98 of a scheduled 160 laps had been completed. Jeff Gordon was the winner. There were lightning strikes in the area shortly after the race concluded. Track spokesman Bob Pleban said there were at least two strikes on the raceway property, one in the parking lot behind the grandstand and another near a gate area. He added that the track broadcasted warnings for spectators to take cover.

In addition to the fatality, nine other spectators were transported to area hospitals, including one with critical injuries who was taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pa. One fan with what Pleban termed as a moderate injury and another with a minor injury were taken to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Another spectator with a moderate injury also was transported to Pocono Medical Center.

In addition, five spectators who originally were treated at the race track were sent to hospitals for further evaluation. Three went to Pocono Medical Center and two to Lehigh Valley Hospital.

"We are deeply saddened that a fan has died and others were injured by lightning strikes following today's race at Pocono," NASCAR spokesman David Higdon said in a statement released by the sanctioning body. "Our thoughts are with them as well as all those affected by this unfortunate accident."

A number of NASCAR drivers reacted to the news via the social network Twitter. "I want to throw up after reading the [news] of today's tragic death," Brad Keselowski wrote in a series of posts. "... How terribly, terribly sad ... My condolences to the family. ... Hey fans -- we do this for you. So when something like this happens and takes one of you from us, it hurts."

Added Mark Martin: "I just got home and found out about the tragic loss we had today at Pocono," he wrote. "I am so sorry for the [families] that were involved."

The lightning strikes were so prominent that even Gordon noticed them when walking from his race car. Although the fatality was not announced until after the driver had left the track, news of the injuries clearly put a damper on his celebration.

"We were walking down pit road, the umbrellas weren't doing any good, [and] there was a huge, huge crack from lightning," he said. "You could tell it was very close. I mean, that's the thing that's going to take away from the victory, is the fact that somebody was affected by that. I mean, the fans here are so loyal and avid. When we were going back to the garage area, there was a group of fans chanting up there that were not leaving. That's just so unfortunate, because they're so loyal and avid here, so you hate to hear something like that. Certainly our thoughts are with them. I hope everything is OK there."

Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. Pocono staff said no further information on the deceased spectator was immediately available because the family still was being notified.

"Our heartfelt thoughts and best wishes to those that were injured," Pleban said, "and our condolences to the loved ones of the person that is deceased."


it was a nasty storm, we got hit maybe 10 mins later from the same storm, it is a shame ths happened, it puts things in perspective.....
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Rochelle

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Post Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:00 pm

Re: story of lightning strike at pocono

I was just reading that on msn. That's a truly heartbreaking situation. As soon as the race was over I turned off the TV as I was pretty much disgusted with the whole race. You're correct MJ, it certainly does put things in perspective.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all the fans and families affected by this
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe" - Friedrich Nietzsche
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michaeljohn

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Post Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:06 pm

Re: story of lightning strike at pocono

i wouldnt be surprised if there are some new changes to when a storm is coming, i was watching CNN this morning and they kept saying " if you got the warning at 4:10pm, why did you continue to have the cars on the track and people in the stands." and the person from pocono said " that is nascar call if the want to end the race early, we can only suggest."
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Rochelle

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Post Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:29 pm

Re: story of lightning strike at pocono

That wouldn't surprise me either. We get thunderstorms here during the summer too and you can watch the news to see where the lightning strikes are. Not all storms have thunder and lightning but the technology exists to track lightning and I think they need to utilize that technology, if they're not already. I get weather alerts on my cell phone too, it's a public service they do here because the dust/thunderstorms can pop up very quickly. We had both here last night and the alerts always come before the storms hit. They should make that service available at the tracks. What happened yesterday was a freak thing, but that doesn't mean it can't happen again.
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe" - Friedrich Nietzsche
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cslonewolf

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Post Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:52 pm

Re: story of lightning strike at pocono

It's not right to blame the victim, and this is a tragic event but.......... acording to our local news reports the guy was out on the parking lot trying to dismantle a tent. The race had already been called for quite some time. Rather than sit in his car and wait the storm out, he decided to stand in a thunderstorm wielding alunimum tent poles. So how any of this could be the fault of Pocono Raceway, or NASCAR is beyond me.

I could see it being their fault maybe if NASCAR did not call it when they did and these fans were still sitting in the stands hoping the race was going to continue.
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Rochelle

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Post Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:02 am

Re: story of lightning strike at pocono

I didn't see anything about anyone being blamed. It was a freak accident. I would hope that no one blames the speedway. Mother Nature is not controlled by anyone or anything. If that's what he was doing, then he may not have been using the best judgement. It was a tragic accident, but accident is what it was. The only thing I was trying to say was that there is technology that could possibly avert this kind of tragedy. But, in the end, it's everyone's responsibility to look out for themselves. At least that's the way I feel. I feel so very bad for the families involved but I don't blame anyone for what happened.
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe" - Friedrich Nietzsche

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