Lightning strike splits 'soulmates'

  • 26/11/2017

A night under the stars has turned into a nightmare after a young woman was killed and her boyfriend seriously injured by a ruthless electrical storm in Melbourne's northeast.

Lauren Brownlee, 25, and her boyfriend Ben Hollow, 23, were watching the storm roll in at a popular vantage point in Chirnside Park.

It was there the unthinkable happened - both were struck by a powerful lightning bolt.

A passerby pulled over to help and performed CPR on Ms Brownlee but she couldn't be saved.

Mr Hollow suffered serious burns to both his legs when he was struck. He was treated by paramedics at the scene and brought to the Alfred Hospital where he underwent surgery on both legs and is expected to make a full recovery.

The couple met while working together at a local real estate agency. Friends describe them as soulmates, who loved each other and their work.

Ms Brownlee worked at Stockdale and Leggo real estate agency at Croydon, and her coworkers were devastated, the Herald Sun reported.

"'Loz was loved by everyone for her gentle kind and giving nature. Our hearts go out to her family and her partner Ben," a statement from her workplace said.

One of the woman's friends paid tribute to her on Facebook, writing: "Rest easy and fly high Lauren Brownlee! My heart and condolences go out to your family! You were such an amazing woman."

Experts say the freak accident should serve as a warning to others, with severe thunderstorms forecast over the weekend. On Friday night alone, more than 15,000 lightning flashes were recorded across Melbourne's northeast.

7 News