SYDNEY (Reuters) - An American backpacker was killed in Australia on Tuesday when lightning struck his tent, police and local media said, as severe thunderstorms swept the east coast.

Police said the man was camped beneath a tree with his girlfriend at Mt Warning, in an area popular with tourists, and died instantly. His girlfriend was injured.

"Lightning struck the tree, went through the tree, it appears it struck the male's feet in the tent," local police commander Wayne Starling told reporters.

Police did not release the man's name.


The Gold Coast Bulletin newspaper said he was a 24-year-old U.S citizen.

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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