Lightning kills pregnant Amish woman, baby

This is an accident the media will call “freak”, and Amish will simply call God’s will.

Yesterday an Amish woman picking berries in Pennsylvania woods was struck by lightning as she sheltered under a pine tree.

Yesterday was also the woman’s due date; the baby she was carrying died with her.  The woman’s husband and two children, who took shelter under a different tree, were not hit.  The accident happened in Somerset County, near the town of Garrett.

This is also a reminder of the danger of thunderstorms:

An average of 54 people are killed by lightning every year in the United States, according to the weather service. There have been 16 such deaths so far in 2012, not including Yoder’s. Hers was the first this year in Pennsylvania.

During a storm, the weather service urges people to run to a safe building or a vehicle. While there is no safe place outside during a thunderstorm, people who are stuck outside should avoid open fields, hilltops, isolated trees, tall objects, water, wet items and metal objects.

“Generally you want to stay away from tall objects, because lightning usually tries to strike the highest or tallest object in an area,” Evanego said. “So if you’re under a tree, that tree is kind of a magnet.”

Hopefully God’s will also helps ease the family’s pain at this great loss.

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    1. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      Oh gosh, my sympathies toward the family and their community.

    2. Marilyn from NY

      Oh, my heart and prayers go to that lady’s family. It was God’s will.

    3. Brenda Henry

      My heartfelt prayers and condolences go out to this family. I hope the knowledge that Erik has explained in his post, will save a life. Lightening is very dangerous.

    4. Very sad news Erik that not only killed one person but two because she was pregnant. Since I lived in Florida for 22 years I fully know the dangers of lighting, and when I lived there I became tired of hearing a lot of people saying “Florida is the lighting capital of the USA”. But it really is and is nothing to ignore down there in the south, and in Pennsylvania I have seen some real bad lighting at times in the skies as well, but not even close to the severity of Florida’s. Erik if you hear of a fund for that family please let us know. Richard.

    5. Juanita Cook

      That is so sad. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family.

    6. roxie

      Prayers for the family.. Tough road ahead. But, I know they have the will of God. But, it doesn’t take the pain away from losing loved one’s. But, God is there and His arms wrapped around those hurting..

    7. Our thoughts and prayers for the family and the entire community. Life is so very unpredictable! May the Lord comfort each one.

    8. ramblinjodie

      My prayers for the family.

    9. LeeAnn

      How sad for this family. My sympathy to the whole family for their loss. As Richard said, please let us know if there is a fund set up or a shower to send money to help this family.

    10. Lin

      God is the Blessed Controller of all things.

    11. Jean Junkin

      My prayers go out to the family for their loss.

    12. Carolyn B

      How tragic. Thanks for sharing the tips to stay safe and avoid lightning.

    13. Jane Foard Thompson

      prayers for the loss

      I also add my prayers to the family in their loss. One small consolation is knowing the Amish community will gather around them and support them, not just in the short haul, but for as long as they need it.
      I live in Florida as well, near Pinecraft, and have great respect for the power of a thunderstorm.

    14. Jane Foard Thompson


      Oh — I’m not praying TO the family, but FOR them!

    15. Folks I have a contact to send donations to this family If anyone would like to help. Richard

      Erik a new fund has just been started for this Amish family, and I was contacted by Rossilynne Skena who is a reporter for the Tribune News, so I thank her for passing this information to me.

      Here is the info on where to send your donations folks.

      To donate to the family, contact Citizens National Bank, 135 Center St.; Meyersdale, Pa. 15552. To reach the bank by phone, call 814-634-5941.

      Any donations should be clearly marked as for the Yoder family, said Perry Yoder, a neighbor who helped set up the trust. He is not related to the family.

    16. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      What I did on Sunday (Lightening)

      I didn’t want to focus on myself on my initial response. But now that I’m working on number two, I would like to recount my Sunday because it is a related topic, lightening.

      I was returning home from a volunteer event in my community, and I chose to walk part of the way home and catch a bus at the terminal at what is the midpoint of the walk in that direction. Walking down the road I witnessed stunningly beautiful lightening bolts in the sky some way distant, but having watched weather enough in my lifetime I figured severe weather was coming. In Erik’s article it suggests going inside, but at my location that was impossible, I would have been safe inside a bus shelter if there was one on that street but there wasn’t one. Anyway, long and the short of it, I made it to the terminal in time, and I got on the bus before the rain started heavily. It rained pretty much constantly here in the evening, but after dark there was an even better looking thunderstorm. I chose to stay in and watch from my living room window. It was quite beautiful actually, and I like watching lightening.

      I followed precautions as best I could. I think everyone I knew that day knew the risk of a thunder storm, but no one knew when it would arrive, if it would arrive, luckily for me it appears to have been late, the storm I mean.

      I should note that the volunteer group I’m with hosted a training session earlier this year for us and one of the things they stressed was that if there is a thunderstorm going on, come in, don’t stay outside.

    17. LeeAnn

      Good note Richard. Here in AZ. we have huge lightning storms and they really light up the sky. They are beautiful to watch, but wouldn’t want to be caught outside in one.

      Glad you got into shelter in time, and home safely.

    18. Moira


      My prayers go out to this woman’s husband and children. God bless all the people that she loved and who loved her too. This is a very difficult time for all, I’m sorry this happened.

    19. Les

      I am a Christian.. (was born into the Nazarene Church w/similarities to the Mennonites) AND admire the Amish greatly!! But if lightning is striking/thunder rumbling, especially close!! `though it can strike 60 miles out of a storm….. PLEASE GET INDOORS!! God bless this woman’s husband and family and may he raise her like Lazarus.. and At The Last Day!! <3 Les

    20. Leon


      Just this past weekend, another death and nine injuries were caused by lightening which occured at the Pocono Race track when a storm hit the area during an auto race. The sad part is that race officials and track promoters had advance warning of the approaching severe storm, yet allowed the race to continue until the very last possible minute after the rains came so they could get the race past the half way point, which would allow the race to be considered over instead of having a rain delay Monday.

    21. Traci Banville

      Due date

      I suppose it might seem odd to some, why the family was out berry picking, or out anywhere for that matter on Mrs. Yoder’s due date. Well, babies do not always come when they are due, she may have been overdue before and felt like a bit of walking might either help or take her mind off of it for a few hours. Doctors are usually guessing when they give you a due date and she probably preferred to go with the family than to stay home alone.
      My heart goes out to the Yoder family, especially the children who witnessed their mother’s death.
      I do not subscribe to the explanation of “God’s Will” because the Devil is working overtime and apparently cannot resist the sight of a happy family enjoying a wholesome past time. I also never blame the victim.