People around the world laugh about how dangerous the animals in Australia are. From the jellyfish, octopi, snakes, and spiders, there are plenty of poisonous animals. Then there are the ones that are not venomous but equally dangerous. From emus, kangaroos, and magpies, it sometimes seems that the whole of Australia’s fauna is out to kill you.
Unfortunately, for one British tourist, a sea snake was the deadly beast that claimed his life. According to CNN, a 23-year-old British tourist was bitten by a snake brought up in a net on a fishing trawler in waters on the northern point of Australia, near Groote Eylandt Island.
Northern Territory police revealed that the man died on Thursday in the Gulf of Carpentaria, which is situated off the Northern Territory. According to BBC News, the man was bitten by the sea snake at approximately 9:00 am., local time.
CareFlight, a medical emergency service for remote areas, rushed in with assistance and medical supplies, as did vessels close by. The trawler “made its way to the town of Borroloola where the man was declared dead,” according to CNN. It is believed a post-mortem examination will occur.
A British High Commission spokesperson issued a statement on the tragedy.
“We are supporting the family of a British man who has died in the Northern Territory and are in contact with the Australian authorities.”
According to Blanche D’Anastasi, who researches the animal at James Cook University, the British man was extremely unlucky to have died as a result of the snake bite.
While sea snakes are considered venomous, it is rare for people to come into contact with them due to their geographical location and a resultant lack of contact with humans. In addition, the Marine Education Society of Australasia (MESA) states that it is rare for sea snakes to emit a lethal dose of venom. In fact, researchers suspect this may be the first recorded death in Australia caused as a result of a sea snake.
Meanwhile, Associate Prof Bryan Fry, from the University of Queensland, described the incident as a “tragically unlucky accident.”
“By and large they are very gentle animals, and people do go scuba diving with them all the time,” he told BBC News. “But in a fishing trawler situation, where they’ve been potentially dragged through the water in a net, they will come up injured and perhaps looking to lash out.”
According to CNN, MESA has identified “32 species of sea snakes have been found in warmer waters off the Northern Territory and Queensland.” Whereas, the Australian Institute of Marine Science identifies 30 to 70 species of sea snakes in the waters surrounding Australia.