When British tourist Ben booked a holiday on K’Gari (Fraser Island) with his partner Georgia he hoped for some close encounters with Australia’s unique wildlife.
But he never expected to be airlifted to hospital after a suspected bite by Australia’s second most venomous land snake, the eastern brown.
Ben told 9news.com.au he wandered up the sandy slopes in trainers to retrieve the device, but disaster struck on the journey down.
“When we got back to the truck and had a look at my ankle, I saw the two fang marks, then the sudden realisation of long grass, plus summer equals snakes hit.”
In shock, Ben said he showed the bite mark to his fiancée.
“The tide was in so we couldn’t access the beach to get back. I put pressure on my ankle to try and stop the blood flow.”
Georgia sprang into action and ran to a neighbouring campsite, frantically waking a family to help.
“They had been told the day before that an eastern brown snake had been spotted just along the campsite so we needed to move.
“Her husband and his friend carried me into the back of his new Landcruiser and rushed us across the rocks, along the beach to the nearest emergency phone.”
About 40 minutes later Ben hear the distinctive whir of a helicopter, and knew help had arrived.
“The helicopter couldn’t land at the rest stop we were at because of maintenance works being done to the helipad and they couldn’t land on the beach because of the high tide,” he explained.
“They circled overhead for a while before making the decision to land on this sandy grass-level part of the beach and the guys drove me down to meet the paramedics.
“The team from the RACQ LifeFlight were brilliant, kept me calm and got me into the helicopter to prepare me for the flight to the mainland hospital.”
Georgia was left on the island as the chopper was at capacity, and Ben was flown to Hervey Bay Hospital.
“They took bloods and hooked me up to all the monitoring machines.
“Both fangs had hit the ankle bone perfectly so it didn’t inject venom, lucky escape”.
Ben added an eastern brown was still suspected to be behind the bite due to the recent sightings around camp, and the distance between the fang marks.
With snake season in full swing, Ben said he knew the venomous reptiles in Australia would pose a risk.
However, he’s admitted he had three takeaways from the ordeal.
The world’s deadliest, most terrifying, snakes
“I’ve watched nature shows my whole life and I’m pretty switched on with keeping my wits about me, especially in Australia,” he said.
“(But) three things to make travellers like myself aware of in the future: wear thick high boots in Australia if you’re walking in the bush, always carry a bite kit and assume snakes are everywhere.
“In all seriousness, though this hasn’t changed my outlook on anything, I love Australia and I will continue to explore it.”