Snake bite kills grandfather: Donald Morrison dies after saving friend at Koumala
A grandfather who died from a snake bite after removing it from his friend’s ankle had been celebrating the 100 year anniversary of his former primary school.
Donald Morrison was bitten on the arm by the snake at the Koumala State School, 60km south of Mackay, on Queensland‘s north-coast, at 6.30pm on Saturday.
The 69-year-old and his friend Lloyd Younger were at the school’s 100th anniversary celebrations with Mr Morrison having previously studied on campus.
An old picture resurfaced showing the grandfather as a young boy and standing beside classmates as they posed for their school photo in 1964.
Emergency services rushed to the scene immediately after Mr Morrison was bitten.
They tended to his injuries for about half-an-hour before he was pronounced dead.
Donald Morrison (pictured right) was killed after he was bitten by a snake on Saturday after he saved a mate from the dangerous reptile after he pulled it off his ankle
Donald Morrison (pictured top left, third row) was at an event on Saturday to celebrate the centenary of the Koumala State School
Paramedics believe that an eastern brown snake may have bitten Mr Morrison on the arm after initial reports indicated he had been bitten on the chest.
Mr Morrison’s physical state deteriorated rapidly before he went into cardiac arrest.
Toxicology results are yet to confirm whether the elderly man was killed by the eastern brown.
Queensland Ambulance Deputy Commissioner Dr Claire Bertenshaw told The Courier Mail that anti-venom dosages were on their way before he died.
Mr Younger suffered a dry bite, which is when a snake bites a person but does not release any venom.
He was released by Mackay Base Hospital on Sunday.
Mr Morrison removed the snake away from the crowd after pulling it off his friend’s ankle.
His daughter said on Facebook he was bitten while he was taking the reptile away.
Mr Morrison’s family released a heartbreaking statement following the death of their loved one.
Mr Morrison was at the Koumala State School centenary celebrations event on Saturday when he was bitten by the snake, after he removed the animal from the crowd who had gathered at the event.
‘We all enjoyed ourselves, especially Donny who was really happy to have caught up with so many old friends,’ the family said.
‘We would like to thank everyone involved with the incident involving Donny, people pulled together in an attempt to resuscitate Don but unfortunately were not successful.
‘We are sorry that the incident led to the event being shut down early.’
Several others also posted a tribute to Mr Morrison, who was remembered as a ‘larrikin’ and an ‘entertainer’.
One woman who was at the event over the weekend described the man as ‘cheeky’ and ‘full of mischief’.
A spokeswoman from Queensland Police said a report would be prepared for the coroner.
Brown snakes have the second most toxic venom out of any land snakes in the world.
According to the Australian Museum, they cause more deaths every year in Australia than any group of snakes in Australia.
Mr Morrison was allegedly bitten by a brown snake on the arm however autopsy and toxicology reports are yet to confirm whether he was bitten by the reptile