Pacific Grove >> For Chris Lovera, his 12-year-old son Aiden and 9-year-old daughter Nadia, their first time backpacking as a family is certainly one for the memories. That’s if they allow their minds to recall the moment over Labor Day weekend when they were struck by lightning.
The three of them had been backpacking and camping six miles up a trail in the remote Sequoia National Forest when the storm came in.
Lovera said that Nick Barton, who witnessed the event, told him it looked as if the family had been “blown up.”
While Lovera is more than grateful that they’re all alive to tell the tale, to him it’s one that isn’t easy to remember. One moment he was taking a video of a downpour from the thunderstorms passing over he and his kids, the next he was waking up to Aiden screaming “Daddy, Daddy” with blood running down his face.
“We didn’t hear, see or sense in any way that this had happened,” recalled Lovera. “It was so bizarre – from the moment we all have this collective memory of videotaping this torrential downpour – that’s kind of where everything stopped.”
Royce and Melissa Gibson were nearby and saw the strike. They were the first people to arrive at the scene.
“A bolt hits a tree and a puff of smoke comes out and it looked like their bodies just elevated – and hit the ground,” recalled Royce Gibson. “It was a short flash of lightning. Seemed like maybe 15 feet long at the most. …
“I was in disbelief. My wife said ‘did you see those branches fall?’ I said ‘I don’t think those were branches…’
Gibson said he expected “to find charred dead…
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