Snake bite victim runs 3km for help

March 17 2010 at 07:15AM
By Jauhara Khan

Despite three snake bite wounds in his left knee and his body slowly beginning to give in to the venom, Thomas Ncube ran 3km in search of help.

Ncube, 40, of Groutville, and three friends were going fishing when he was bitten by what is believed to be a green mamba at Tinley Manor yesterday morning.

“I was on my way to the beach and decided to take a shortcut using a narrow pathway through the grass. I didn’t see the snake at first, but then I felt a sharp pain and I saw the snake had bitten me on my knee,” he said from his Stanger Hospital bed yesterday.

Ncube said his friends began screaming and ran off. “The snake bit me again. I jumped and it let go, but moved forward and bit me again,” he said.

Ncube ran to a nearby road for help and stood there for a while before realising that nobody would stop. He walked to a nearby hostel but was unable to find help there either.

“I started running again and I came to a florist. Two men were inside and I screamed for help.” The men called for an ambulance and alerted the police. When Ncube began frothing at the mouth, the men drove him to Shakaskraal Clinic. “The clinic didn’t have anti-venom to treat me, so the men took me a private doctor, who also did not have any.”

The doctor then called Netcare911, who stabilised him before transporting him to Stanger Hospital.

Hospital staff said that Ncube had difficulty breathing, and had a high pulse rate when he came in. Anti-venom was quickly administered and his condition began to stabilise.

Ncube said he had previously survived being bitten by a night adder. His wife, Nonhlanhla Hlongwa, thanked the men who helped him.

Ncube’s attack was one of several to have occurred in the past two months. Snake expert JP Wittstock, of Reptiles Unlimited in Durban North, said that green mamba attacks were uncommon but that snake bite incidents were prevalent due to the current hot weather.