HELENA - Lightning may have been a factor in the deaths of two Helena boys who drowned after their go-cart crashed into the Missouri River, authorities said Tuesday.
Wynn Meehan, Broadwater County's deputy coroner, said he found a burn mark on the elbow of 12-year-old Justin Williams, who was driving the cart. Meehan said lightning may have caused the crash that also killed 10-year-old Ethan Ray-James Winscot.
"With the information I have, that's the most probable explanation," he said, noting that the official cause of death remains drowning.
"It's very consistent with a high heat burn, such as with lightning. There's nothing on the go-cart that could have caused it."
The sheriff's department received a call Friday evening reporting that the two boys had gone missing.
Searchers found the go-cart about 3 miles downriver from where it apparently entered the water. One of the boys was found in the vehicle. A fisherman found the body of the other boy Saturday morning.
The deadly accident was the second on local rivers in a week. On May 25, a woman was killed when her raft overturned on the Dearborn River. A man who was also in the raft remains missing.