British man dies from sea snake bite in Australia

Published: October 05, 2018 16:55:03 | Updated: October 12, 2018 13:59:42

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A British man has died after being bitten by a sea snake on a fishing trawler in Australia, police have said.

The man, 23, had just pulled up a net off the coast of the Northern Territory when he was bitten about 09:00 local time on Thursday (23:00 GMT Wednesday).

Emergency crews were called to the boat, near island Groote Eylandt, but were unable to save the man.

It may be the first recorded death from a sea snake in Australia, according to researchers.

The man was working on the trawler and was bitten by the sea snake while lifting a net onto the boat, police said.

The man's body was taken to the mainland town of Borroloola on Thursday. Northern Territory Police said a post-mortem would be conducted.

A British High Commission spokesperson said: "We are supporting the family of a British man who has died in the Northern Territory and are in contact with the Australian authorities."

Authorities have not said which species may have caused the death.

'Tragically unlucky'

Sea snakes are highly venomous, but because of their limited contact with humans, bites are relatively rare.

Australia is home to 30 of 70 known species, according to the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

Blanche D'Anastasi, who researches the animal at James Cook University, said she believed Australia had no previously recorded deaths from sea snakes, BBC reported.

Associate Prof Bryan Fry, from University of Queensland, described it as a "tragically unlucky accident".

Sea snakes are often encountered by fishing crews in the region, Ms D'Anastasi said.

According to research published last year, snakes were responsible for 27 deaths in Australia between 2000 and 2013.

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