ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A Tennessee man says he planned to propose to his girlfriend along a North Carolina hiking trail when she was struck and killed by lightning.

Thirty-year-old Richard Butler of Knoxville tells the Asheville Citizen Times that he took Bethany Lott to Max Patch Bald, near Asheville. He says he wanted his 25-year-old girlfriend to think the two were on a hike but that he had a ring in his pocket and was planning to ask her to marry him.

Heavy rain let up as the two walked toward the bald, but more bad weather returned. Butler says there were three lightning strikes. The last one hit the couple.

Butler suffered third-degree burns. Paramedics declared Lott, also of Knoxville, dead at the scene.

There was no answer for a number listed for Butler on Monday.


Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com