A volunteer rescue team training Saturday near Palm Springs, California, swiftly rescued a 4-year-old boy bitten by a rattlesnake on a nearby family hike.
“I don’t know if I want to call it luck, call it more of a blessing,” Doug Stevens of Palm Springs Mounted Police Search and Rescue told KESQ.
A rattlesnake bit the boy’s leg on a family hike in Murray Canyon near Palm Springs, KMIR reported. The family immediately called for help.
“When you hear that (it’s a) 4-year-old your heart just starts pounding and everybody said, ‘let’s go’,” Stevens told the station. “In the 40 years I’ve done this this is the first snake bite I’ve ever been on.”
A California Highway Patrol helicopter assisting with the training ferried a rescuer to the family and then hoisted the boy for an airlift to a hospital, the team reported on Facebook.
“That had to be scary at 4 years to be hoisted away from your parents into a helicopter,” Stevens told KESQ. “But he was (a) brave little boy.”
Dr. Lance Brown, vice chair of emergency medicine at Loma Linda University Health, said the speedy rescue allowed doctors to administer antivenin shortly after the bite, especially crucial when children are bitten, KMIR reported.
The rescue team reported on Facebook that the boy is in stable condition.
Although rattlesnakes normally avoid people, each year about 8,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes in the United States, reported the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Ten to 15 people die annually of venomous snakebites in the U.S., the FDA said.