UPDATE: Lightning strike victim confirmed dead

Thursday, June 18, 2009 | 1:03 p.m. CDT; updated 9:17 p.m. CDT, Thursday, June 18, 2009

COLUMBIA — A 23-year-old woman struck by lightning Wednesday night has died .

Georgette Tillett, 23, of Waynesville, was pronounced dead at 8:32 p.m. Wednesday at University Hospital, according to the Boone County Medical Examiner Office.

Tillett was a graduate of Central Methodist University.

Tillett was struck by lightning at the Rocky Fork Lakes Conservation Area, about seven miles north of Columbia, just after 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to a release from the Boone County Fire Protection District.

She was unconscious and not breathing when she arrived at University Hospital shortly before 8:30 p.m., said Gale Blomenkamp, a division chief with the Fire District.

According to the release, the woman was with two other people and had been fishing. As the storm approached, they began to walk across a field to leave the area. The two other people heard something and turned around to see the victim lying on the ground unconscious and not breathing.

CPR was initiated during the 911 call, according to the release.

The responding firefighters had trouble locating the victim, Blomenkamp said. And four vehicles that tried to drive into the field got stuck in the mud because of the recent rains. The firefighters requested air transport, but because of the storm, the helicopter could not take off.

They finally were able to load the victim into a flatbed pickup truck and transport her to the nearest road, a half-mile away, where an ambulance was waiting, according to the release.

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Charles Dudley Jr June 18, 2009 | 1:42 p.m.

So young and prayers to her family and friends.

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