Fish volunteer killed by rattlesnake bite

Oct. 16, 2010 at 2:07 AM
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SAN DIEGO, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- A San Diego-area man died a short time after he was bitten by a rattlesnake as he waded through a remote stream helping with a trout study.

William Price, 67, of La Jolla was with a group of volunteers from San Diego Fly Fishers, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. He was airlifted to Palomar Medical Center after being bitten and was pronounced dead there Wednesday.

Gary Strawn, the conservation chairman of the fly fishers group, said they discussed the dangers of the area around Boulder Creek, including rattlesnakes and poison oak, before they started work. They were participating in a study of steelhead trout.

The volunteers were wearing water sandals, Strawn said. He said Price was bitten soon after they began wading along the creek at 11 a.m. PDT.

"It must have been a big one," he said. "The bite marks on top of his foot were an inch and a half across."

The volunteers did CPR until paramedics arrived 20 minutes after Price was bitten.

Snakebite deaths are rare in the United States. Price may have been bitten by a western diamondback, one of the largest rattlesnakes in the United States, which is believed to be second only to the eastern diamondback as a killer.

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