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Campers in shock after freak lightning strike kills man

A memorial to lightning victim Kenny Dixon who was killed last Friday when he was struck by lightning on the beach at Inskip Pt.
A memorial to lightning victim Kenny Dixon who was killed last Friday when he was struck by lightning on the beach at Inskip Pt. Craig Warhurst

WATCHING Sunshine Coast man Kenny Dixon get struck and killed by lightning is the most horrific thing Gympie man David Grieve has ever seen.

Mr Grieve was camping at Inskip Pt with a group of eight Gympie friends on Friday afternoon when tragedy struck.

Despite major storms in Gympie and a front passing over Fraser Island they said the afternoon was surprisingly calm at Inskip Pt and there was no sign lightning would hit the beach.

Just before the strike, two of the group, Simon Cassar and Michael Dodt, had been down beside the water with about 150 other people watching a fisherman try to land a large stingray.

When a few spits of rain started to fall they ran back to the camp, past Mr Dixon who was walking up the beach with his son Jason, to wind up the windows in the vehicles.

As they got to the camp the lightning hit about 30m in front of their tents.

The noise was like a bomb going off and most of the group hit the ground thinking they had been struck.

"It was panic stations," Mr Dodt said.

"And then Dave yelled out, 'It just hit that guy.'"

Mr Grieve was sitting under cover facing the beach when he saw a "thick bit of lightning come out of nowhere" and hit Mr Dixon.

"It was about 50cm wide," Mr Grieve said.

Mr Dixon fell straight forward into the sand beside the water.

His 11-year-old son, who was walking about 4-5m in front of Mr Dixon, was thrown another 5m through the air.

He survived the strike.

Another of the group, Jake Buhle, said the flash was that bright it burnt into his vision and the cracking and fizzing of electricity seemed to last for about 10 seconds

Mr Grieve got on his mobile and rang 000 while Mr Cassar and a girl from the campsite ran down to check on Mr Dixon.

When they got there, they knew Mr Dixon wasn't going to make it.

Mr Cassar said he clothes had been blown off, he had no hair and blood was trailing into the water.

"There was nothing we could do," he said.

A beach memorial to Mr Dixon has been set up in front of the group's campsite at the site of the strike.

Topics:  gympie lightning strike sunshine coast

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