Man survives 6.5-hour wait for help after snakebite
Anxious wait for help on remote station
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.