Desperate rescue in WA gorge after woman bitten by deadly brown snake

Desperate rescue in a remote gorge after young mum is bitten by a deadly brown snake hundreds of kilometres from civilisation – and the amazing SEVEN HOUR operation to save her

  • Woman, 36, was bitten by a highly venomous brown snake in Western Australia
  • Luckily an off-duty doctor was nearby, who applied pressure bandage to wound
  • Emergency team was soon on the scene, mammoth seven-hour rescue followed
  • Megan Brouwer, who was bitten on the foot, said to always carry a first-aid pack 

A mother is lucky to be alive after she was bitten by a deadly brown snake while hiking in a remote gorge, sparking a tricky seven hour rescue mission. 

Megan Brouwer, 36, was with her husband and young son when the highly venomous serpent lunged at her in the Karijini National Park.

The outback wilderness is 1300km north-east of Perth, and 300km away from the family’s home in the nearest town of Port Hedland on the state’s north-west coast.

‘I turned around and saw it slithering off and thought ‘gee, that was a close call’ and my husband said ‘no it was actually on your feet and it was striking at you’,’ Ms Brouwer told 9 News.

Port Hedland resident Megan Brouwer was hiking with her husband and five-year-old son on April 24 when a highly venomous brown snake lunged at her in the Karijini National Park

By a stroke of luck, an off-duty doctor was in the vicinity, who quickly applied a pressure bandage to Ms Brouwer’s wound (pictured, the start of the rescue effort)

‘I had a puncture wound and some fresh blood and had a bit of a panic then of what to do.’

By a stroke of luck, an off-duty doctor was nearby who quickly applied a pressure bandage to Ms Brouwer’s wound.

The doctor, who was also armed with a first aid kid and satellite phone, then raised the alarm with emergency crews.

A mammoth seven-hour rescue from the bottom of one of WA’s steepest gorges followed, with the mother ‘eternally grateful’ to the doctor and the rescue team.

The emergency crew worked for seven hours to get Ms Brouwer to safety from a remote gorge in WA after she was bitten by a brown snake

Brown snakes (pictured) have the second most toxic of all snake venoms in the world

It was no easy task, with Ms Brouwer floated across three pools of water on a stretcher before she was then lifted up to a narrow path lined with dozens of loose rocks.

‘I couldn’t really fathom how they were going to get me up there in a stretcher, but they did,’ said Ms Brouwer. 

Ms Brouwer also stressed the importance of having a first aid kit on hikes, as it ‘can make all the difference.’

What to do if you are bitten by a brown snake:

Keep calm, and follow these steps closely:

  • Get the person away from the snake
  • Ensure they rest and help them to stay calm
  • Call triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance.
  • Apply a pressure immobilisation bandage 
  • Don’t wash the bite area — venom left on the skin can help identify the snake

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