TWO men were electrocuted and killed by lightening strikes on separate peaks in the Brecon Beacons, a coroner has ruled.
Jeremy Prescott, 51 of Telford and Robin Frederick Meakings, 59, of Pulborough, Surrey were both hit by separate bolts of lightning within minutes of each other on Sunday, July 5.
Mr Prescott, a Duke of Edinburgh instructor, was struck on the top of Cribyn during a bronze award assessment, while Mr Meakings, a design technology teacher who was on an adventure holiday with friends, was struck on Corn Du during an unexpected storm.
A third man, Nicholas Earl, a friend of Mr Meakings was also struck but did not receive life threatening injuries.
William Belcher, who was walking with Mr Meakings and Mr Earl at the time of the incident told the hearing how his two friends had been adjusting Mr Meakings’ walking poles.
They were about to begin their decent down the mountain when the lightening struck: "I was waiting for them when there was a massive blue and white flash followed by an extremely loud whip crack and a fizzle. I then smelt burning leather or bacon and realised it was lightning."
Gaynor Hogarth, a friend and work colleague of Mr Prescott, who was with him when he was struck said: "At first I though Jez was messing around but then I knew he’d been hit. It was like there was a fluorescent tube behind him, almost as if someone had opened black curtains and switched on a fluorescent light."
At the inquests, held separately at Brecon Law Courts today, Thursday, September 3, Coroner Andrew Barkley said that the men died during ’exceptional weather conditions’.
He added that such deaths are ’very rare’ but two in such a close proximity and in such a short period of time were ’remarkable.’
He concluded both men died as a result of being struck by lightning.
For more on this story see next week’s Brecon & Radnor Express - on sale Wednesday, September 9.