[UPDATE 8/15] Rescuers Dispatched to Report of 17-Year-Old Female Hiking With Rattlesnake Bite

Dispatch sent Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue, Petrolia Fire, and a helicopter to Spanish Flats, which is south of Petrolia and north of Shelter Cove along the ocean, because of a report of a hiker with a rattlesnake bite.

Reportedly, the 17-year-old girl is with a large group of hikers. They, including the girl, are all hiking along the Lost Coast Trail to meet with rescuers at Spanish Flats.

UPDATE 2:55 p.m.: Updated location for the bitten girl to meet up with rescuers is the Smith Etter Road. Honeydew Fire has also been asked to respond.

A crew member of the medical response air team requested information on the availability of “antivenom at St. Joe’s…That’s our plan to transport the patient to St. Joe’s,” he said.

UPDATE 3:27 p.m.: One group of rescuers is reporting that they are unable to locate the girl and her companions.
UPDATE 5:07 p.m.: The fog rolled in so the chopper had to leave. [Note: Cal Fire says the chopper left due to needing fuel and didn’t return due to high winds.] The young woman has not yet been located.

UPDATE 7 p.m.: The patient just came into Jerold Phelps Hospital, according to dispatch. All resources were canceled.

UPDATE: According to unofficial reports, we’ve heard the young woman is okay.

UPDATE 8/15: Rattlesnake Bite Victim Received no Venom, Says Sheriff’s Office



  • None of them knows what to do? Seriously? Our tax dollars now at work. Ugh.

    • People dont tend to carry anti venom in their back pocket ya know.

    • There’s not much you can do without anti-venom but try and remain calm. I think its a good use of tax dollars.

    • Tax dollars at work my ASS these brave men & women are ALL VOLUNTEER they do NOT make a damned dime from a call!!! They give their free time & sometimes work time as well to go rescue people in need of it for WTF ever reason!!!! Anymore ignorant comments??? I’ll save the expletive since it would just get deleted anyway!!! ;-\

    • Pretty easy to sit on your butt and criticize. And volunteers aren’t on tax dollars. Many who moan about that don’t even pay taxes.

    • Lost Croat Outburst

      Who said that no one knows what to do? Anybody else notice that no matter what the situation is, we have to get a brain-rot comment about tax dollars at work regardless of the facts, such as volunteer rescuers or LEOs or USCG using tax dollars to help our endangered citizens.

      I guess Fox News and the Republican negative drum beat destroys people’s brains like meth or alcohol. We see the result now after years of conservative hardliners spewing hate, loathing and lies. Sad. Very sad.

    • I can think of a very long list of ways the government wastes tax dollars; search and rescue is not one of them, and the more they do it the better they get at it.

    • Next time bring a marine radio too...

      What do you mean “no one knows what to do”? What do you want to do- from your sofa in Eureka?
      The Hikers communicated via a third party, which never works out so well. Then they high tailed it out o there ( I’m guessing she was one of the 90% of snake bites that don’t get invenomated) The worst thing was the party left without following up with anybody ( they may not have realized that they were taken seriously, and that word of there potential emergency got out) That helicopter must be looking for something else? They must have driven past the ambulance waiting for them at Mattole station! The Incident Commander thought to put calls out to local hospitals, and sure enough they had just walked into Phelps in G-ville. The Kings Range is a big place to find a person, especially if they ain’t helping.

  • Dang, I did not think there were rattlesnakes that close to the coast. But I guess they have nights a lot warmer along that south facing stretch of the Lost Coast than we get north of the cape.

    I hope for a quick extraction and swift and complete recovery for this poor young lady.

    • The fires inland are likely responsible, in part, at the very least, for Rattlers being so close to the coast!!!!

      • That’s an interesting observation.

      • There’s always rattle snakes on the lost coast. Also fires don’t give snakes wings to fly fifty miles from a fire

      • Yeah Dan [edit],they can feel the heat from the Ruth complex and they all decided to go to the coast to chill out…Idiot.

      • Fires don’t play into it. There has always been rattlesnakes along the LCT, the sand is warm & there are an abundance of mice in the driftwood.

      • Next time bring a marine radio too...

        [edit] Did you stop to reflect about the notion of all the snakes in Eastern Humboldt somehow migrating over the last month all the way to the coast?! or the annual fires at Spanish Flat? (1st night camping spot on your way South: first chance to make a mistake) There are more Rattlers on the coast than on the west side of the Mattole River. There have been multiple sitings, and bites from rattle snakes on the lost coast over the years. If you havn’t gotten out of the Humboldt bay region recently, let me tell you: the sun is shining, it’s summer out here!

    • Rattlers are actually fairly common along the Lost Coast. I’ve hiked that trail probably a dozen times over the years and have seen them frequently. Last time, about three years ago, I sat on a rock at Randall Creek camp and immediately heard the buzz. Jumped up pretty quick.

    • If there is water there are snakes unfortunately most of our coastal vipers walk on two legs instead of crawling on ther belly still thay are related so watch out

  • I hope someone with the group knows what to do.God Bless

  • Stay out of the driftwood, that is where they hang.

  • as a avid snake enthusiasts I am updated on snakebite protocol and the only thing you can do is remain calm and get to a hospital as soon as possible where they will treat you with crofab, a generic antivenin used for all north american pit vipers. all the old recommendations of tourniquet, and cutting and sucking out the venom have been proven to do more harm than good. There are few if any deaths from the Northern Pacific rattlesnake she was bitten by. best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  • Well she should be at least getting a piggy back ride and not hiking and I’m sure the closest antivenom is in Redding. It doesn’t have a long shelf life and is expensive to keep on hand.

  • Not a bad idea to have a snake bite kit with you when you hike….. People around here seem to get into trouble hiking…. Never hike alone and always tell someone where you might be…. Safety first….

    • If it’s a kit with a knife, tourniquet and suction bulb, you might want to reconsider that choice. The chances of introducing bacteria into the wounds are far greater than recovering any toxin.
      Cell phone for help, sit in the shade, drink a lot of water, and wait.
      Expect a lot of swelling if the bite was “wet” (as in delivering poison.) Loosen the clothing to accommodate it.
      My Doc says that 9 out of 10 bites are “dry.” Snakes in a defensive mode, and not hunting, don’t want to use their ammunition unless it’s absolutely necessary. (Hasseling or hurting them qualifies as necessary).
      The puncture wounds of a bite however, can easily introduce Staph infections. The same applies with those “kits.”

  • Tons of rattlers on the sand and bluffs all through the LCT. They love to warm up in the driftwood piles & warm sand. We buried a friends dog out by Big Flat after he was bitten a few years ago. He had no chance, and it was sad to see. But thankful that he took the bite instead of one of us. That snake was killed, cooked and eaten that night.

    Also, snake bite kits are basically pointless. There’s nothing in one of those that will help you out in a situation like this. Waste of money and pack space.

    • Sorry to hear about the dog but was the snake BBQ some sort of eye for an eye justice for the dog and/or it’s humans? Being a surfer, I get the emotion but almost every account of a shark attack victim feel that the shark was just doing what sharks do.

  • Take benadryl if nothing else it will help calm people down and keep your heart drom racing to fast .

  • Please don’t go hiking with a rattlesnake bite. You just hold back the whole group when you can’t keep up. Stay home instead. Better yet, go see a doctor!

    • Stay HOME???? With a Snake bite, are you totally out of what little mind you may have??? You did have one excellent suggestion you mentioned only in passing!!! GET TO a DOCTOR or a HOSPITAL, ASAP!!!!!

      • There’s no such thing as rattle snakes, walk where ever you want, stick your hands under logs just have a good time. No worries!

    • Please tell me you are joking with this comment? You can’t really think that this girl was bitten by a rattle snake, and then decided to go hiking with her friends? Your advice, although true, is absolutely ridiculous. You’d have to be a complete moron to go on a hike after being bitten. It sounds like you may be confused on the situation here. This girl was already hiking with her friends, and while they were hiking a snake but her. So now her and her friends are trying to get the girl to a rescue crew, so she can be taken to a hospital.

  • Rattlers are quite common on the coastal trail.. I have seen them and heard many stories.. Hope she finds help soon..

  • Rattlesnakes can decide how much venom to inject. Sometimes they may inject none at all. Young rattlesnakes are the worst, they tend to shoot their whole supply. Older ones have learned to control the amount so they don’t run out. Takes time & energy to build up new supply. Leaned this from a herpetologist who worked with rattlesnakes a lot and who had been bitten several times over the years. Two bites had no effect at all. Another nearly killed him.

  • Bacteria is the worst part usually.

  • J Phelps Hospital does not stock rattle snake antivenom. Last time I checked Redwood had enough to get started and then be resupplied by St. Joseph’s. This is unfortunately due to the very high price of antivenom.

  • There is some stupid people in this world and some of them left comment on this page[edit]

  • Theres so many snakes here it’s crazy. We used to have to leave the swimming hole up in panther gap because of all the snakes,it was hot and they wanted the water too!!I’m scared to death of them.i leave them alone and they leave me alone.lol

  • It’s good to hear she’s okay!

  • In the good old days, a friend ( hopefully ) would slice the wound and suck out the ” pizone” and hope the person didn’t get bit in the butt. Ha Ha

  • I hiked the lost coast from both, ends many times. I always stay near the shore. When you go away from the beach, you find rattlesnakes (lots of them ) berry vines and poison oak.

  • Ive only seen three rattle tail snakes in all the years ive lived in this area one i whipped with a 2×4 until he was good and dead the other two i whipped with a 12′ long fiberglass cb antennae, i believe they call those antennae a “whip” no fun intended.
    Now in south carolina my buddy and i saw a coral snake laying in the road injured we stopped to investigate i grabbed the nearest stick and slung the snake at my buddy since he was wearing cut off shorts and sandals, the snake got close enough to put the fear of god in him,

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