Man killed by lightning ‘one of the most giving people’

SOUTH Australians are rallying around the wife of a former radio DJ killed in a freak lightning strike in the Northern Territory.

Antony Van Der Meer is being remembered as a selfless husband, brother, son and friend who was "one of the world's most giving people".

The 35-year-old former FreshFM DJ and software retail manager died after being struck by lightning at Kings Canyon about 5pm on January 1, while hiking with wife Jessica and three family members.

NT police yesterday said they believed the lightning bolt struck a camera tripod, which Mr Van Der Meer was carrying on his back, as the group took in the Rim Walk at the canyon, about 33km west of Alice Springs.

A lightning strike at Kings Canyon. Picture: Davey May
A lightning strike at Kings Canyon. Picture: Davey May

Ms Van Der Meer and other family members arrived back in Adelaide yesterday but were too distraught to speak publicly.

She took to Facebook on Tuesday to describe her late husband as her "soulmate and the love of my life".

"You honestly were the most incredible husband, son, brother, cousin and friend to us all," she wrote.

The family also issued a statement thanking rangers and volunteers who trekked to the area as his family desperately tried to keep him alive amid the sudden storm and flash flood.

Friends yesterday established two online fundraising pages, aiming to raise $15,000 to help Ms Van Der Meer as she grieves her loss.

Last night, a flood of pledges had taken the tally raised to more than $6000 in less than 10 hours on websites GoFundMe and You Caring.

"Antony was a person who would give the shirt off his back if you needed it," the GoFundMe page says.

"He would do everything to help out a mate and quite often a stranger for no other reason than the fact that he loved to help others."


NT Police Superintendent Pauline Vicary said the bolt hit Mr Van Der Meer's metal tripod as the group was about 500m from the carpark area.

"They were nearly at the end of that walk when two storm fronts came through at the same time. Unfortunately the lightning struck the tripod that (Mr Van Der Meer) was carrying on his back," he said.

The Advertiser has learned the former DJ, known on-air as Trance, was photographing his family's hike. Former FreshFM colleagues yesterday remembered Mr Van Der Meer as a jovial and positive team member when he was a co-host of the Freshly Squeezed morning program for almost six years.

Family members were still arranging details for Mr Van Der Meer's funeral service.