British fisherman killed by sea snake off Australian coast

October 5, 2018 GMT

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A British fisherman was bitten by a sea snake while working on a trawler off the northern Australian coast and died before a rescue helicopter could reach him, officials said Friday.

The 23-year-old man, who has not been identified, was bitten Thursday as he was pulling in a net in a remote part the Northern Territory coast, a police statement said.

Sea snakes are highly venomous but are not aggressive, so humans are rarely bitten by them in Australian waters.


A rescue helicopter with a medical team was sent from the city of Darwin, CareFlight spokesman David Wheeldon said. But the crew was informed during the flight of more than 700 kilometers (435 miles) that they were too late, Wheeldon said.

St. John Ambulance spokesman Craig Garraway said there was little that emergency services could do to help the man in such a remote location. Garraway estimated the victim died within two hours of being bitten.

The man was officially declared dead when the trawler reached the coastal town of Borroloola, police said.

The British High Commission had been informed, police said.