A schoolboy has survived after he fell off his mountain bike on a Colorado trail and landed on a 30-inch rattlesnake that sank its teeth into his chest.
Ethan Vogel was out on an early evening ride with his dad Zach when his wheel caught a boulder.
He fell on a hidden prairie rattlesnake just off the trail on North Table Mountain in Golden.
Zach, 41, dropped his bike and ran to where his 11-year-old son was standing wearing a bloodied T-shirt after the snake bit his right breast near the armpit.
When he lifted Ethan’s cap, he saw two large stab wounds.
Ethan Vogel (pictured recovering in the hospital) was out on an early evening ride with his dad Zach Vogel when his wheel hit a boulder. He fell on a hidden prairie rattlesnake just off the trail on North Table Mountain in Golden, Colorado
Ethan’s wound is examined at the hospital. After 36 hours and 16 vials of antidote, he was discharged
He laid Ethan on his side, rocked his head, and kept him calm as he called for an ambulance.
Zach, a gym and strength trainer owner, said he was terrified that his son would die in his arms. He credits his regular ice baths and breathing techniques for helping them stay calm as they waited for paramedics to arrive.
Within 19 minutes, Ethan, whose hands and face had begun to go numb, was taken to the hospital with a blue light where he was given antidotes and other drugs to stabilize him.
After 36 hours and 16 vials of antidote, he was released from the hospital and returned home, where he continues to recover.
Ethan, from Golden, Colorado, said, “I love mountain biking and being on the trails.
“I fell off my bike, I didn’t see the snake until I got up again. I hoped it was a thorn, then we heard the rattle after it bit me.
“I was scared when I realized it had bitten me and then I couldn’t feel my face or my hands. Dad kept me calm, it was very helpful.
“It was a bit shocking to see the photo of the bite mark. I felt pretty bad in the hospital, I’m very relieved that I’m still here.
‘Soon I have planned another bike ride.’
Ethan, from Golden, Colorado, said, “I love mountain biking and being on the trails”
Ethan was bitten on his right breast near the armpit. After the fall, his father rushed over and saw him standing with a bloody T-shirt
The pair set out on June 6 at 5 p.m. for a pre-dinner bike ride and 90 minutes in Ethan fell on the hose.
Zach said, “Ethan’s been wanting to go for a ride all day. When I got off work, we decided to go for a ride just before dinner.
“He was really adamant about going to the place where I first took him on a mountain bike ride many years ago.
“We have always been aware of rattlesnakes. My boys grew up reading snake books and wanted to learn about the biology where we live, so we knew the risks when we went out.
“We had seen several rattlesnakes on rides before, so we had an idea of what to do.
“We are not afraid of rattlesnakes, we are just very aware of them and know the dangers. We learned to keep our distance and listen to the sound.
“We spent an hour and a half on our ride and we rode side-by-side for most of the ride.
“I decided to let him lead the way after we were in the picture together. Ethan looked at his watch and said, “Dad, we’re having a really good time.” I said “yes we are buddy”.
“He started driving, I was right behind him, and we were only driving for a few more minutes and he ran into some boulders — one on the left and the other on the right.
“There was a little dirt road in between and he did great. His front wheel went between them and then his back wheel hit the rim [of a boulder].
“It lifted his bike and because it was moving quite slowly, it knocked it off balance.
“He put his feet down to stabilize himself and he couldn’t reach the ground, so he tipped over and fell just off the path and landed on top of the rattlesnake.
“There was no warning, the snake, which was over a foot long, couldn’t sense it was there and it frightened the snake. It bit him right in the chest.
“He jumped back to me and hoped he wasn’t bitten, but I think he knew he was bitten because I saw the look on his face.
“I put my bike down and jumped to the boulder it was standing on, I looked down and saw the rattlesnake sitting there.
‘He had already begun to pull up his shirt, which had blood on it. I looked at his chest and there were two fangs.
“We took his shirt off, moved away from the rattlesnake, and that’s when I called 911.”
Ethan (photo in hospital) said, “It was a little shocking to see the photo of the bite mark. I felt pretty bad in the hospital, I’m very relieved that I’m still here’
Ethan’s back showed how far the venom had spread from the original bite. Zach said that as soon as paramedics arrived, they administered medication and took him to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Littleton, Colorado, before being transferred to Children’s Hospital Colorado
Zach, who is also a father to Tristan Vogel, 13, and Aleah Vogel, 8, waited anxiously for 19 minutes for the ambulance to be pulled over by passing cyclists.
A passerby lent Zach his phone so he could tell his 46-year-old elementary school teacher, Heather Vogel, what had happened.
Zach said, “I was as scared as any parent would be because you just don’t know how much time they have, I didn’t want to lose him.
“There are other bitten children who collapsed within minutes and were unable to resuscitate them.
“He’s not trained to handle that level of stress and he knows how dangerous snakes are, so he feared for his life.
“I comforted him and made sure he knew it would be okay. I just knew the most important thing was to control his heart rate and not panic.
“He was lying on his side and I held his head. At that moment, Ethan’s face and hands were numb and his eyes itchy.
“The neurotoxin was acting really fast and then he started throwing up, his heart rate was 165 beats per minute lying down.
“We’ve been doing ice baths for a long time, whether he’s been in the ice bath with me or just watched me do it, so we talk about it a lot.
“They have enabled us to control our breathing, accept the pain, acknowledge it, and learn to be calm in the midst of discomfort.
“He understood it was like an ice bath, so he took a few really deep breaths to calm himself down.
“I appreciate the ice bath training for helping him stay calm and save his life, I think that mindset really helped.
“He had a reason to fight and he trusted me. I just prayed to God that nothing bad would happen and that I wouldn’t lose my son in my arms.”
Zach and Ethan on a bike ride. The pair embarked on a pre-dinner bike ride at 5 p.m. on June 6 and 90 minutes in Ethan fell on the hose
File photo of a Western Diamondback rattlesnake
Zach said that as soon as paramedics arrived, they administered medication and took him to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Littleton, Colorado, before transferring him to Children’s Hospital Colorado.
There, staff ordered antidotes and administered drugs to help stabilize him.
Zach said, ‘The doctors at St Anthony’s were phenomenal, they wasted no time ordering the antidote.
“They put him on a slow drip for 90 minutes. We just watched and tried to keep him as comfortable as possible.
“Poison control showed up and they wanted to look at the wound and find out where the poison went.
“It had already spread under his armpit to his lymph nodes and around his spine.”
Ethan is now doing well at home and is expected to make a full recovery soon.
Zach said, “He’s doing really well and he should be given all-clear.
“The doctor is not worried, he is expected to make a full recovery within three weeks.
“It’s not stopping us from mountain biking in the area, he’s fishing to get back on the bike soon.”