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7-year-old Calif. snake bite victim airlifted from hiking trail

First responders were dispatched to a “limited access rescue” on the Bruce Lee Trail in Clayton



By Rick Hurd
Bay Area News Group

CLAYTON, Calif. — A 7-year-old child went by helicopter to a Walnut Creek hospital on Wednesday, after he was bitten by a snake, according to fire officials.

Officials did not have an update on the boy’s condition Thursday morning.

Contra Costa Fire Protection District units and the California Highway Patrol were called to the Bruce Lee Trail at about 4 p.m., officials said. They could not confirm that it was a rattlesnake that bit the child.

“There was definitely a snake bite, and all the symptoms were such that it could’ve been one,” fire spokesperson Steve Hill said. “We didn’t see the snake.”

According to Hill, fire crews were dispatched for a “limited access rescue,” which Hill said generally means somebody needs help on a trail. As fire crews arrived, they found the child and the mother in the parking lot and the CHP landing a helicopter.

“The mother carried the kid to the parking lot,” Hill said. “Our guys and the CHP were treating the youth on the scene. After about four minutes, they immediately (airlifted) the child, because symptoms similar to those [from a rattlesnake bite] were being reported.”

The helicopter took the child to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek.

Officials said the bite serves as a reminder that there are poisonous snakes in areas off the East Bay trails, and that they will only increase as the weather warms.

Hikers are urged to stay on trails only, and to wear close-toed shoes or boots and long, thick-material pants. They also should carry a walking stick, which can be used to fend off snakes. Snake sightings on actual trails are rare, Hill said.

“Usually,” he said, “they want to avoid you.”

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