Queensland man Donny Morrison did not have venom in body after snake bite, family says

A Queensland man who died after rescuing a friend from a snake did not have venom in his body, his family says, suggesting he would have succumbed to something other than a bite.

Donny Morrison, 69, was bitten after he successfully removed the snake from his friend’s ankle and was walking away with the reptile on Saturday evening.

The incident occurred while they were attending the 100-year celebration of Koumala State School, near Mackay.

Paramedics said based on the symptoms he displayed and his apparent collapse from cardiac arrest, Morrison was bitten by a brown snake.

However the family said in a statement on Thursday that there was “no snake venom in Donny’s system”, citing preliminary coronial findings.

“We have received preliminary findings from the coroner’s office which confirm that there was no snake venom in Donny’s system,” the family said in a statement.

“This therefore rules out snakebite as a contributing factor or cause of death.

“While the exact cause of his passing is still under investigation, it is believed that Donny may have had an underlying medical condition that he was unaware of.”

Morrison was said to have been bitten multiple times in the chest and arms, but snakes are known for “dry bites”, where no venom is injected. Dry bites can still be painful.

The man was attending the 100th anniversary celebrations of Koumala State School.

The friend Morrison had been rescuing from the snake is also believed to have endured a dry bite.

The family reiterated their gratitude to those who tried to save his life, and have now called for privacy.

“We offer our heartfelt thanks to all first responders and the many members of our Koumala community who provided assistance on the night,” the statement read.

“These past few days have been exceptionally distressing for the family, and we kindly ask for privacy during this time to grieve our loss and bid farewell to Donny.”

In a previous statement, the family said Morrison had been “really happy to have caught up with so many old friends” at the event.

Tributes also flooded social media with users calling him a “good friend and neighbour” and a “hero” for his brave actions.

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