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Lightning strike kills Colorado rancher and 34 head of cattle

Incident stunned small, tightknit community where most everybody knows everybody
A thunderstorm sparks lightning strikes in 2013 from Animas Mountain to Missionary Ridge. (Courtesy of Dan Bender)

DENVER – A lightning strike killed a Colorado rancher and 34 head of cattle over the weekend, officials said Sunday.

Mike Morgan, 51, was feeding his cattle from a trailer when he was struck and died on the scene despite lifesaving efforts, the Jackson County Sheriff's Office said.

The lightning bolt struck on wide-open pasture outside the town of Rand, about 80 miles northwest of Denver, said George Crocket, the county coroner.

The strike also bowled over around 100 head of cattle that had bunched around the trailer loaded with hay, said Crocket. “All but the 34 got up,” he said.

Morgan’s father-in-law and wife were nearby but survived the blast, said Crocket.

The incident stunned the small, tightknit community where most everybody knows everybody, Crockett said.