Teen hit by lightning shows improvement

WICHITA — A 14-year-old boy is in fair condition at a Wichita hospital after he was hit by lightning in Medicine Lodge Monday afternoon, officials said.

The strike happened shortly after 5 p.m. in the 400 block of Spring Street as the youth was playing in the street in the rain, Medicine Lodge Police Sgt. Kenneth Rinke said.

He was taken to Medicine Lodge Hospital, then airlifted to Via Christi Regional Medical Center-St. Francis Campus in Wichita. He arrived in critical condition but was upgraded this afternoon, hospital officials said.

Officials are not sure if the boy was hit directly or if the bolt struck something nearby and the current from the charge passed through the ground and felled him.

"It is possible we will never know for sure," said Larry Ruthi, meteorologist in charge of the Dodge City branch of the National Weather Service.

The thunderstorm that moved through Barber County was not unusual for its strength or amount of lightning, Ruthi said.

"All it takes is one," he said.