ASPEN, Colo. (CBS4) – Officials confirm a father and his teenage son died at their campsite near the Maroon Bells Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning while they were sleeping in a tent– but what killed them is being investigated.
The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office along with specialized recovery teams and the Flight For Life helicopter were able to bring the victims’ bodies off the mountain. They have been sent to Grand Junction for autopsies.READ MORE: Blue Angels Jet Makes Emergency Landing At Great Colorado Air Show
Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy George F. Kremer told CBS4, “There is evidence to suggest carbon monoxide poisoning” as a possible cause of death as well as lightning.
The victims have been identified by the coroner as Jeffrey Beard, 41, and Cameron Beard, 14, both of Colorado Springs.
CBS4 has confirmed there were also two other young children part of the camping party that were not injured but taken to a local hospital to be checked out. Other hikers were able to assist the children.
The exact cause of death won’t be known until the autopsies are completed but officials speculate the two were killed by a lightning strike.
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Lightning strike-related deaths are very rare in Pitkin County, according to the sheriff’s office.
A sheriff’s official said the campers were about 3 miles up the West Maroon Pass near Crater Lake — at approximately 11,000 feet.
“There are a lot of risks once you leave this beautiful setting here and go into the wilderness,” Martha Moran with the U.S. Forest Service said.
Moran knows the mountainous terrain well, but in her decades working for the Forest Service she has never had something quite like what they responded to on Wednesday.
“Flight For Life did an amazing job. They offered to assist us in recovering the bodies,” Pitkin County Sheriff Alex Burchetea said.Hikers Discouraged From Climbing Kit Carson Peak As Madeline Baharlou-Quivey's Body Recovered