The fatal snakebite incident involving Ian Miller in 1955 has been immortalised by the details published in Dragon's Wrath and Barrier of Spears. Some interesting details have now been released about the rescue.The well-known photo of Ian Miller cautiously probing the grass for snake on that ill-fated trip was recently published in an article appearing in The Witness, titled A Tale of Two Pictures.
In response Peter Allan, who was involved in the rescue, submitted an article which provides some little known details of the event. This worthwhile read can be viewed here.
The photo is linked from that article.
It has already been pointed out that Miller's phobia of snakebite may have been an aggravating factor in his death. It remains the only account of snakebite related death in the Drakensberg that I know of. Snakebites remain rare in the Berg (the last incident happened to be in February this year).
Remain calm and get help as soon as possible. The following advice is published on the KZN Wildlife website:
- There are three types of dangerous snakes in the area, the Puff Adder, Berg Adder and Rinkhals. The Rinkhals is capable of spitting and in cases of poison in the eyes, rinse with water, milk or urine. If you have a snake bite victim, keep them calm and reduce movement to a minimum, exercise quickens the spread of the venom. Seek medical assistance as soon as possible and do not apply a tourniquet. Wrap the limb firmly, starting at the top in order to slow (but not stop!) the blood circulation in the limb.