It was enough to send shivers down your spine: Fire and rescue officials in Colleton County said a 28-year-old kayaker was hospitalized in critical condition Saturday after a rattlesnake fell out of a tree on the Edisto River and bit him twice on the hand. Except now the man's family says that's not at all how it went down. Michael Adams' cousin tells ABC News 4 that Adams believed he saw an alligator in the water and paddled toward it. Upon seeing it was a snake, Kyle Colquitt says his cousin reached out to grab it, unaware it had a venomous bite. Colquitt says the snake was a baby and that it actually bit Adams three times. Colleton County Fire Chief Barry McRoy said that after being bitten, Adams "was in bad shape, and greatly deteriorated" during an ambulance ride.
The Colleton Medical Center had anti-venom ready in the emergency room to treat him, McRoy says. Adams was then flown by helicopter to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston on Sunday, and a rep for MUSC tells the State he's currently in "good condition." The rep says Adams does not want to speak to the media and does not want the attention the incident is generating. McRoy described it as the first rattlesnake bite recorded in the county so far this year, the State reports, though there have been a few nonfatal copperhead attacks. Rattlesnake bites can lead to more serious health problems than a typical copperhead bite, but deaths are rare. (This Virginia woman was attacked by a copperhead snake inside a steakhouse.)