Snake Bite: Deadly Taipan Kills Australian

Snake Bite: Deadly Taipan Kills Australian

A man has died in Australia after being bitten by one of the world's most venomous snakes - a coastal taipan.

Andrew Vaughan's death in dense bushland near Yeppoon, 430 miles north of Brisbane, was a rare fatality despite the country being home to all the planet's deadliest species of snake.

Mr Vaughan, 57, went missing after becoming separated from his workmates as they checked power lines in the remote area.

When he failed to respond to radio and telephone calls the alarm was raised and his body was later found by a search party.

"Andrew was working with another workmate and a contract backhoe operator clearing a track to get access to a pole for maintenance work to be carried out at a later time," Ergon executive Peter Billing told ABC radio.

"At some stage during those activities Andrew had been bitten by the snake."

According to an internal email from Mr Billing to Ergon staff, Mr Vaughan appeared to have died almost instantly and was unable to be revived when he was found three hours later.

Despite such attacks being rare, it is the second time in almost as many months an Australian has been bitten by a species of taipan.

A 17-year-old survived an inland taipan bite in September after swift treatment in hospital with anti-venom.

A single drop of inland taipan venom is potent enough to kill 100 people.

The coastal taipan which is native to the Yeppoon area, is less toxic than its cousin but is still pretty deadly as the world's third most venomous snake.

According to official estimates there are about 3,000 snake bite cases in Australia every year, 300-500 of which require anti-venom treatment. An average of two prove fatal.

The top 10 most venomous snakes in the world are all native to Australia.