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Worker killed by taipan in central Queensland

Date

Bridie Jabour

An Ergon Energy worker died after being bitten by a taipan last week.

An Ergon Energy worker died after being bitten by a taipan last week. Photo: Pat Scala

An Ergon Energy employee died almost instantly after being bitten by a deadly snake while out on a job in central Queensland.

Yeppoon crew leader Andrew Vaughan was working his way through dense bushland on Friday with a backhoe operator trying to beat a path to a pole that needed maintenance work.

During the work, Mr Vaughan lost contact with the crew, who raised the alarm as soon as they realised, according to an internal email sent out to Ergon Energy staff by operations executive general manager Peter Billing, who called the death "tragic".

Mr Vaughan was already dead by the time he was found after a huge search by the police, SES volunteers and Ergon Energy employees.

It has been confirmed by Ergon Energy he died from a Taipan snake bite.

"His death is a shock to us all and the organisation continues to support his family and workmates," Mr Billing wrote in the email.

"We are staying in contact with Andrew's wife and family and offer our continuing support.

"His workmates have also received support and counselling."

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has launched an investigation into the death and Ergon Energy is having their own internal investigation.

Mr Vaughan's funeral will be held this Friday at Yeppoon.

"The incident is a reminder to us all of the potential dangers our people in the field face every day while undertaking their job," Mr Billing wrote.

"The Taipan is regarded as Australia's most dangerous species of snake.

"I urge you to treat all snakes as venomous and ensure you consider your surroundings and any potential hazards."

Taipans can grow to 3 metres long and are usually found in canefields feasting on rats.

42 comments

  • Tragically, Taipans are very active in Central Queensland right now, only last week a neighbour encountered one while mowing and two more have since been identified. In my 12 years of local occupancy, only browns and a couple of black snakes but until recently had never seen a Taipan in this area..

    Commenter
    Geronimo
    Location
    Yippee Yi Yo
    Date and time
    November 08, 2012, 6:21AM
    • Being a native animal, this thing would be protected. The stupidity of not killing snakes is mind boggling. The only good snake is a dead snake. Sympathies to the family of this poor unfortunate.

      Commenter
      The Genuine Article
      Date and time
      November 08, 2012, 7:51AM
      • Elephants are native to their homeland too, elephants kill people, lets kill all elephants and while we're at it kill all sharks too.

        Commenter
        Knee Jerk
        Location
        Longreach
        Date and time
        November 08, 2012, 8:26AM
      • It is a tragedy but killing snakes wholesale won't fix it.

        Commenter
        scot
        Location
        auchenflower
        Date and time
        November 08, 2012, 8:57AM
      • More people are killed in Australia every year by horses or bee stings than from snake bite. Don't even get started on how many are killed by automobiles.

        Commenter
        Let's Kill Everything
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        November 08, 2012, 9:07AM
      • I find your view mind boggling. Whilst this accident is truly tragic, snakes, spiders, crocs, sharks, jellyfish etc... are part of our culture - it makes this country unique.

        Commenter
        Tom
        Date and time
        November 08, 2012, 9:18AM
      • Extremely sad for the family, we wish you well.
        The Gen Art - grow up buddy an get a clue.

        Commenter
        Liberator
        Location
        SEQLD
        Date and time
        November 08, 2012, 9:30AM
      • I find the stupidity of your comment mind boggling. Do you also insist on the death penalty for someone who causes a fatal car accident? Snakes have as much right to live on this planet as you do. Humans need to learn to live in harmony with nature, not destroy it.

        Commenter
        Diana
        Date and time
        November 08, 2012, 9:35AM
      • "Genuine Idiot" Hippos kill more people than snakes. Let's wipe them out too. Snakes are on the move and it's the breeding season. Oddly enough some people behave the same way when chasing a mate though not in self defence like the snake. Grow up.

        The incident is a tragedy and I feel for his relatives but is no-ones or no things fault!

        Commenter
        Neal
        Location
        Cairns
        Date and time
        November 08, 2012, 10:40AM
      • Some humans kill other humans. Should we exterminate that population as well???

        The snake was here first, and like swimming in the ocean, or travelling through the African savanna, we are trespassing into the environment of animals that have the ability to harm or even kill us. That is a risk that must we must recognise.

        Commenter
        The Realistic
        Location
        Brisbane
        Date and time
        November 08, 2012, 10:51AM

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