Man sur­vives 6.5-hour wait for help af­ter snake bite

Anx­ious wait for help on re­mote sta­tion

South Burnett Times - - RURAL WEEKLY - . CAS­SAN­DRA GLOVER Cas­san­[email protected]­ral­

LOCKIE Ding­wall’s worst night­mare be­came a re­al­ity when he woke up in the mid­dle of the night to find a snake in his swag.

“I’m sur­prised I didn’t have a heart at­tack,” Lockie said.

“My swag was zipped up dur­ing the day but at night I had it half un­zipped be­cause it was so hot.

“I woke up about about 12.30am and I felt it bit­ing me on the leg.

“While I was still half asleep and I grabbed the snake and when I re­alised what I was hold­ing I jumped out of bed.

“I’m ac­tu­ally pet­ri­fied of snakes so I flew out of bed.

“At first, I thought it was a dream be­cause I couldn’t see the snake any­where. But then I felt the blood run­ning down my leg.”

Orig­i­nally from Oakey in south­west Queens­land, Lockie was con­tract mus­ter­ing at Riv­eren Sta­tion in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory near the West­ern Aus­tralia border, around 600 kilo­me­tres west of Kather­ine.

Lockie was camped out on the sta­tion when the snake bit him.

“I tried call­ing out but ev­ery­one was asleep. I walked about 150m over to my boss’s cabin,” he said.

“I told him I’d been bit­ten. He put a ban­dage on my leg and then his part­ner went over to the man­ager’s house to wake them up and they con­tacted the hos­pi­tal.

“I had to wait 6.5 hours un­til CareF­light could get there.”

Lockie said he wasn’t sure what kind of snake had bit­ten him.

“They ap­plied first aid and then went over and had a look for the snake but it was al­ready gone by then,” he said.

“They (the doc­tors) said it could have been a dry bite from a brown snake or it could have been a python.

“It wasn’t a lit­tle snake, go­ing off the thick­ness when I grabbed.

“Look­ing the marks now I think it was more likely it was an olive python. The span of the mouth is quite wide.

“I’m a bit of a tosser and a turner so I’d say I kicked it or rolled on it, and it didn’t like that.”

Lockie said it was hard to stay calm while wait­ing for CareF­light.

“The first few hours were the hard­est, but af­ter that, when I was still al­right, I was like ‘she’ll be good’,” Lockie said.

When CareF­light ar­rived at dawn, Lockie was re­lieved.

“CareF­light were un­real,” he said.

“They got there and it was all about mak­ing sure I was com­fort­able and calm.”

When Lockie ar­rived at Royal Dar­win Hos­pi­tal last week they did blood tests ev­ery cou­ple of hours be­fore they were sat­is­fied there was no venom in his sys­tem.

He was kept in hos­pi­tal for 24 hours for ob­ser­va­tion.

Lockie said mus­ter­ing sea­son is fin­ished un­til next near, but he will be mak­ing sure he zips up his swag from now on.

“It was a pretty painful bite,” he said.

“But it’s not too bad now.”

WORST FEAR: Lockie Ding­wall was bit­ten by a snake while asleep in his swag.


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