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British man dies after bite from sea snake off Australia's north coast



Craig Adams - Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Sea snake bites are rare and as with this tragic event, usually involve working with nets. The first aid treatment for sea snake bite is the same as for Australian terrestrial snakes - Pressure Bandage + Immobilisation.

The following article has been extracted from The Guardian Friday October 5th 2018.


Man, 23 and reportedly a backpacker, bitten when pulling up net on fishing boat

A young British man has died after being bitten by a sea snake while working aboard a fishing trawler off Australia’s northern coast.

The 23-year-old was bitten as he pulled up a net around noon on Thursday, when the vessel was about 70 nautical miles south of Groote Eylandt, an island in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Northern Territory police said.

Deaths from sea snakes are rare despite their deadly venom.

St John Ambulance operations manager Craig Garraway told the Northern Territory News paramedics went out to the trawler “but unfortunately by the time they got out there he had passed away”.

The boat eventually docked at the small township of Borroloola where the man, reportedly a backpacker, was declared dead.

Police said the British embassy was notified of his death and a postmortem examination would be conducted.

Some 30 of the 70 known species of sea snake – marine reptiles found in tropical waters – are found in Australia.

Sea snakes are venomous but considered to be non-aggressive and rarely attack unless provoked.

The Marine Education Society of Australasia said most sea snake bites occur on trawlers, although only a small proportion are fatal to humans as it is rare for much venom to be injected.

It said there were no deaths previously recorded from bites in Australian waters.


About the Author - Craig Adams

Craig is a venomous snake expert and former Operations Manager for the Australian Reptile Park. With his wife Jackie, Craig has travelled to remote areas of Australia in search of venomous snakes and spiders for inclusion in the Reptile Park's venom collection program for scientific purposes and for the collection of new data on endangered species. Craig has featured in numerous National Geographic and Discovery Channel programs on the world's most venomous creatures. He worked alongside Steve Irwin as a consultant on his film "Oceans' Deadliest" and continues to work periodically with Steve's best friend John Stainton in an advisory and "to camera" role. Together with Jackie, he has also starred in numerous other television, print media and documentary films and is acknowledged by his peers as the "go to" person in this field.


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