Colorado hikers survive lightning strike; dog may have saved them

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A hiking trip ended in tragedy as a lightning strike injured three hikers and killed a dog that came along with one of them on Sunday. But in the end, the dog may have been the hero.

Hiker Jonathan Hardman is hazy when remembering the event, but one thing he does know is that his dog was by his side when the lightning struck below the summit of Mount Bierstadt in Colorado — which he and two friends had just reached — and when he came back to consciousness, his canine friend didn’t make it.

Rambo, his 7-month-old German shepherd, was also hit by the strike and wasn’t able to be revived.

"I was walking one minute and the next minute I was waking up on the ground not able to move my hands or legs," Jonathan Hardman told KDVR. "It was like getting the wind knocked out of me and being paralyzed for a minute."

According to NBC News, doctors told Hardman that he may have been saved because he and Rambo shared the electric charge.

"He was right at my side," Hardman told KUSA. "If it weren't for him, I might have had that whole thing in my body alone."

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Hardman told KDVR that he knew that Rambo was dead because of the way he was lying down. “I had fallen off of a boulder because I was knocked out. I looked up and I just saw him lying there and I tried to go get him,” Hardman said. “I knew he was dead because a dog just doesn’t lie down like that.”

Hardman and his friends were hiking to the summit of the mountain, and reached it, but the lightning came as they were making their way down and pushed Hardman and his friends far back — even striking him in the head, which caused injuries.

“I’m happy to be alive. I just wish I had my dog here with me,” Hardman said. “He didn’t even finish his last bowl of food. Part of it is still in my condo because he was just so excited to go hiking with me.”

There was 16 hikers total on the mountain with three, including Hardman, sustaining injuries -- two had non-life-threatening injuries, and one had serious injuries.

Read more at KDVR.