A freak accident that claimed the life of a British man in Australia may be the first of its kind on record. The 23-year-old working on a fishing trawler off the Northern Territory was lifting a net onto the boat when he was bitten by a sea snake on Thursday. The BBC reports the snakes are extremely venomous but CNN reports most typically don't transmit a lethal dose of the venom with their bites. (The New York Times previously explained they're designed to deliver enough to paralyze smaller prey, not creatures of our size.) Further, the snakes rarely come into contact with humans, and when they do, one Australian professor describes them as peaceful.
"People go scuba diving with them all the time," he says. The key difference here is that the snake was tangled in the net and potentially injured, and "perhaps looking to lash out." There are 70 known species of sea snake, nearly half of which are found in Australian waters; officials didn't say which species bit the man. (Here's how a sea snake that can't drink seawater survives.)