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Twice bitten: Keith survives double strike by deadly brown snake

Statewide

After being bitten twice by a deadly brown snake, outback Queensland man Keith Jackson knows he is lucky to be alive.

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The 61-year-old plant operator unwittingly stood on the snake at his Ilfracombe home, just outside Longreach, on Saturday, October 10.

Jackson has now told the ABC that he took a single barefoot step out of his back door to get his thongs when the brown snake struck.

The snake — the deadliest in Australia — bit him twice on the fourth toe of his right foot.

“I knew he bit me, I could tell, I felt him bite,” Jackson said. “Then I went to kick it away and he got me again.”

He called his wife Rhonda and his neighbours, George and Jackie, who wrapped his foot in compression bandages and waited for the ambulance.

Jackson said he did not feel much pain at first. “It didn’t dawn on me for a little bit,” he said.

“I remember getting in the ambulance, but I don’t remember going to town.”

It turned out to be quite the fateful drive to the Longreach Hospital, about 20 minutes away.

Praise for family and friends

Queensland Ambulance Service advanced care paramedic Frank Smith said Jackson’s condition suddenly deteriorated a few kilometres out of Ilfracombe.

“He said, ‘I feel a little bit sick and I don’t feel right in the head’,” Smith said. “Keith was in full respiratory arrest within a matter of seconds.”

Smith and his partner Ryan Parrish pulled to the side of the road and immediately worked to stabilise Jackson.

They waited for backup before setting off again to Longreach Hospital. By the time they arrived, Jackson was showing signs of regaining consciousness.

Smith praised Jackson’s family and friends, and said their quick actions saved him.

“What they did, that’s the first line of treatment, and it’s the best line of treatment,” he said. “To me, they’ve done the best thing that was possible.”

Jackson was given anti-venom and flown to Rockhampton Hospital for further treatment.

He has since recovered and returned to work, with barely a scratch to show for his adventure.

Jackson was reunited this week with his rescuers in Longreach for a chance to officially thank them.

“Everywhere I walk now I make sure I’m looking,” he said. “I was going to get a tattoo there where he bit me … one of these days it’ll happen.”

– ABC / Daniel Prosser and Damien Larkins

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