Briton killed by sea snake in Australia

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Sea snakes are often encountered by fishing crews in northern Australia

A British man has died after being bitten by a ocean serpent on a angling trawler in Australia, police have said.

The man, 23, thought to be a backpacker, had just pulled up a net off the coast of the Northern Territory when he was bitten about 09:00 local period on Thursday( 23:00 GMT Wednesday ).

Emergency crews were called to the boat, near island Groote Eylandt, but were unable to save the man.

It may be the first recorded demise from a sea snake in Australia.

The man was working on the trawler and was bitten by the sea serpent while pulling the net onto the boat, police said.

The man’s body was taken to the mainland township of Borroloola on Thursday. Northern Territory Police said a post-mortem would be conducted.

A British High Commission spokesperson said: “We are supporting the family of a British man who has died in the Northern Territory and are in contact with the Australian authorities.”

Authorities have not said which species may have caused the death.

‘Tragically unlucky’

Sea serpents are highly venomous, but because of their limited contact with humen, bites are relatively rare.

Australia is home to 30 of 70 known species, according to the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

Blanche D’Anastasi, who researches the animal at James Cook University, said she believed Australia had no previously recorded deaths per sea snakes.

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