Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

DAVID Pitt, 77, re­mained in a crit­i­cal con­di­tion in Cairns Hospi­tal last night after he was bit­ten twice by a coastal taipan in­side his Cathy St home in Yorkey’s Knob on Tues­day just after 8pm.

His long time next door neigh­bour, Elaine Sandi­lant, said Mr Pitt had been try­ing to re­move the highly ven­omous crea­ture from his bed­room us­ing a pair of kitchen tongs.

It is un­der­stood the taipan, one of the dead­li­est snakes in the world, struck be­tween the man’s toes, hit­ting a vein and caus­ing rapid in­jec­tion of venom.

Cairns Snake Catcher op­er­a­tor Matt Ha­gan was called out to the same street at 3pm on Tues­day to re­move a 1.5m ven­omous snake, be­lieved to be the same an­i­mal, from an­other neigh­bour’s yard.

Mr Ha­gan spent more than an hour hunt­ing the rep­tile, but could not find it.

He said he was dev­as­tated to learn yes­ter­day that an el­derly man was bit­ten by a taipan later that night.

“I don’t know if there’s any­thing else I could have done,” he said.

“I tried to be as thor­ough as pos­si­ble try­ing to find it.”

Mrs Sandi­lant and her hus­band Vern, who have lived next door to Mr Pitt and his wife for more than 30 years, were com­fort­ing the fam­ily yes­ter­day.

Mr Ha­gan urged any­one who spot­ted a snake in or around their home to con­tact a li­cenced snake catcher and leave the an­i­mal well alone un­til as­sis­tance ar­rived at the scene.

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