Backpacker’s Gap Year Ends After Tragic Lightning Strike
A gap-year trip of a lifetime ended in tragedy on Tuesday for American backpackers Michele Segalla and Sam Beattie.
Eight weeks into their Australian holiday, the couple were camping on the summit of Mt Warning, near the Queensland-NSW border, when a deadly thunderstorm passed overhead.
Mr Beattie was killed instantly when a lightning bolt hit the tree his foot was resting against.
His 23-year-old girlfriend was left with minor burns and singed hair.
Fifteen minutes after the tragic accident, hikers climbing the summit found Ms Segalla crying in the tent, according to the Gold Coast Bulletin.
As one of the teenage walkers attempted to revive the 24-year-old, the other returned down the track in search of a phone signal to call authorities.
It would take 15 SES workers to carry Mr Beattie’s body down the track after conditions at the peak made it unfeasible to airlift him out of there.
Earlier that week, the couple had been in Queensland where they went to Stradbroke Island before driving down to Byron Bay.
They were camping illegally on the mountain and were believed to have spent the night in order to watch the sunrise.