An apparent lightning in a parking lot behind the Pocono Raceway in Long… (Mel Evans / Associated Press )
One fan was killed and nine others injured after lightning apparently struck a parking lot behind the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., on Sunday.
The 160-lap NASCAR Spring Cup race there had been shortened by a heavy storm, and raceway president Brandon Igdalsky tweeted, “Hoping for the safety of all the fans that are leaving in this crazy storm. Please seek shelter as there is alot of cloud 2 ground lightning.”
A sober addition came 29 minutes later: “Thoughts and prayers to all those affected in today's tragic events in Wisconsin.”
Track officials didn’t know whether it was one or multiple lightning strikes, and they told the Associated Press that two were taken to local hospitals in critical condition and that one of them died at Pocono Medical Center. The other remained in critical condition at Lehigh Valley Hospital Center.
"The visibility was very poor and all of a sudden [I] saw a bolt of lightning right in front of our windshield” in the parking lot, fan Kyle Manger told the Sporting News. "When it became a little more visible, we saw two bodies next to a destroyed tent with people scrambling."
“They were just running trying to get to their car,” Manger tweeted. He said the lightning struck a tent that the two seriously injured fans were near. “One's fate isn't looking good,” he added.
Driver Jeff Gordon, who won the race and heard the strike, told the AP, "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."
Gordon added, “Certainly our thoughts are with them. I hope everything is OK there.”