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'She saved my life'

Andrew Richards was airlifted to hospital following a deadly snakebite on Fraser Island.
Andrew Richards was airlifted to hospital following a deadly snakebite on Fraser Island. Contributed

SOMETIMES it's best to take the wife's advice.

Just ask Andrew Richards, who owes his life to his other half Colleen.

Andy copped a deadly snakebite to the back of the leg during a camping trip on Fraser Island last week. But the tough tourist refused to fuss over something that felt like a "pinprick".

It was Colleen who insisted her husband seek help.

And it's lucky he did, because the bite came from an eastern brown - one of the deadliest species of snake in the world.

Andy had to be airlifted to hospital by the AGL Rescue helicopter and was told that without medical treatment, he'd be dead within 24 hours.

He is now on the road to recovery, back at home in Bellmere, near Caboolture.

Colleen, on the other hand, is still shaken by her husband's close call.

"She just keeps saying 'What if? What if you hadn't listened to me?'"

Andy needed two vials of anti-venom when he arrived at Hervey Bay Hospital.

He's amazed at how one little snake, which he says would not reach a metre in length, could do so much harm.

The snake sank its fangs into his left heel as he walked a track at Orchid Beach about 9am on Saturday.

Being colour-blind, he thought the creature he'd seen slithering away was green.

He wouldn't have sought treatment, he said, if it weren't for the insistence of his wife.

Soon a whole team of community members were there to help.

Staff at the nearby store, the Orchid Beach Trading Post, were all out of bandages, so they tore up sheets instead. They used gaffer tape to apply pressure and stop the spread of venom.

A local ex-nurse also assisted while the island's sole ambulance, based several kilometres away at Happy Valley, had to navigate its way down the beach at high tide.

Within 40 mins of the snake attack, Andy was being whisked off the island by the rescue helicopter.

He says he is touched by how many people rallied to help save him.

"I just want to thank the community," Andy said.

"It was fantastic the work they all did, especially that they even looked after my wife when I left, and helped her pack up the campsite."

Topics:  fraser island, snakebite


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