A truck driver’s been flown to hospital in a serious condition after getting struck by a snake while checking his tyres on the Gregory Highway.
The 42-year-old stopped in a truck parking bay at Belyando Crossing, about 306km west of the Mackay, about midday yesterday.
While inspecting and checking the pressure in his semi-trailer and dog tyres, he was bitten twice by a snake.
The driver immediately jumped into the truck and drove 5km to the Belyando Crossing roadhouse at Llarnath to get help.
Roadhouse staff called 000 and helped bandage the bites and splint the driver’s leg to immobilise him.
He was very unwell and in and out of consciousness.
RACQ CQ Rescue was tasked by Queensland Health about 12.30pm and with a doctor and critical care paramedic landing at the remote roadhouse an hour later.
The patient was loaded into the helicopter, where he told the medical team he had previously had a life-threatening reaction to snake anti-venom, and being so far from medical care, the helicopter crew were ‘under pressure’ to transfer the truck driver to hospital treatment urgently.
After refuelling the helicopter quickly in Moranbah on the return flight, the patient was delivered to Mackay Base Hospital by 3pm.
With the warmer weather, snakes are now on the move across the region.
RACQ CQ Rescue air crewman Grant Bollington says applying a pressure immobilisation bandage after a bite is critical to slowing the spread of venom.
“Often people who are bitten by a snake experience no early obvious symptoms. It’s common for people to start feeling sick a few hours later and symptoms can progress quickly and may cause cardiac arrest or a life-threatening bleed,” he says.
“Every snake bite should be treated as a medical emergency – this poor bloke never expected to be bitten inspecting his truck tyres and being so far from a hospital. He was really in a very dangerous situation.
“There’s no doubt access to an aeromedical service and his quick transfer to hospital probably helped save his life,” Mr Bollington says.