The mother of a 23-year-old British man who died after being bitten by a sea snake in Australia has described how she went “numb” at hearing the news of her son’s death.
Harry Evans, from Poole, Dorset, was bitten as he pulled up a net while working on a fishing boat off Groote Eylandt, 400 miles east of Darwin on Thursday afternoon.
Northern Territory Police said that a helicopter crew was scrambled and the trawler made its way to Borroloola, inland from the Gulf of Carpentaria, where Mr Evans was pronounced dead.
His mother, Sharon Evans, told the Bournemouth Echo: “It sounded like some sort of sick joke at first. I was just in disbelief. You feel so numb.
“We knew there were risks to being on the fishing boat, Harry was not stupid, he knew that as well.”
She said that he had been the “happiest he had ever been” during the trip and added: “Harry had the kindest heart and he had a great interest in people.”
Friend George Jackson-Carter posted on Facebook: “RIP Harry Evans, you were one of the most kind hearted and funniest people I’ve ever met. Always made everyone laugh and smile.”
All known species of sea snake are venomous and “produce some of the most dangerous venoms know in the animal kingdom,” the Marine Education Society of Australia said.
They grow to between 120cm and 150cm but can get as long as three metres, and are considered to be non-aggressive.
They tend to be found in tropical and sub-tropical waters through south-east Asia, the western Pacific and northern Australia.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We are supporting the family of a British man who had died in the Northern Territory and are in contact with the Australian authorities.”
It is the second death of a British man while working on a fishing boat in the north of the country in five years.
In November 2013, 20-year-old Ryan Donoghue was electrocuted while using a power tool when a wave washed on deck as the boat returned to Cairns.