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Lightning Strike Near Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster in Banner Elk Sends Several Visitors to the Hospital

By Nathan Ham

At least six people were hospitalized on Tuesday after a lightning strike hit a tree on the property of the Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster in Banner Elk.

According to a Facebook post from the Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster, several park guests were sitting under the tree and across from the tree when lightning struck. WBTV reported that at least six people were hospitalized.

The post continued, saying that the coaster was not operating at the time that the incident occurred.

“We closely monitor weather and shut operations down till storms pass through,” the post said.

Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster will remain closed on Wednesday due to the lightning strike. Updates as to when the coaster will be reopened will be posted on their Facebook Page.

According to weather reports from the National Weather Service at the time, thunderstorms were in the Banner Elk area for much of the afternoon. Lightning was reported at 2:53 p.m. near the coaster property and Avery County was under a severe thunderstorm warning that was issued at 3:44 p.m. and lasted until 4:15 p.m.