Doctors unsure if Kiwi eco warrior Pete Bethune will ever fully recover from snake bite

Doctors in Costa Rica say they're unsure if environmentalist Pete Bethune's leg will ever recover following a snake bite.

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His condition is improving after being bitten by one of Central America’s most dangerous snakes. Source: 1 NEWS

Medical officials told 1 NEWS his condition is improving after he was bitten by one of the most dangerous snakes in Central America — the fer-de-lance snake.

The snake bit Bethune in the calf while he was on a patrolling mission in the jungle of Corcovado National Park.

Bethune told 1 NEWS yesterday his “life flashed in front of my eyes” during the near-death experience.

“I felt this bang in my calf and I knew straight away it was a snake, turned around and this fer de lance snake went crawling away from me. And he got a good bite too,” Bethune told 1 NEWS from his hospital bed.

“I got a tonne of poison in me and straight away I went into shock.” 

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Pete Bethune crawled almost 3km through dense jungle to get help after being bitten in Costa Rica. Source: 1 NEWS

The 55-year-old said he crawled almost three kilometres back to shore but as his condition deteriorated, he was carried by members of his team to the local coastguard ship where he was taken to hospital.

“I tried to get one of the guys to carry me but it was too steep,” Bethune said.

“I kept banging my leg. I was burning too much energy just hanging on to this guy so in the end I thought of this technique where I just sat on my bum and used my hands to support my weight and used my good leg, held my bad leg out in front of me and we just covered that two-and-a-half kilometres with just me crawling on my bum.”  

Bethune was injected with anti-venom once he reached the hospital, where his left leg remains double the size of his right leg.