Rattlesnake Strike: Motorists Won't Stop for Phoneless Man Who'd Hiked Five Miles for Help After Getting Snakebitten Near Gila River

An Arizona man is lucky to be alive after he was bitten by a rattlesnake after kayaking in the Gila River over the weekend.

Cecil Tidwell, 57, was heading down river near Rainbow Valley on Sunday when rough water forced him to bring his kayak to land and try to hike his way from the river back to civilization.

About half a mile into his hike, Tidwell says, he felt excruciating pain and realized that he'd been bitten by a rattlesnake.

"It hit me on the leg," he tells KPHO. "I didn't see the snake."

Tidwell's phone had fallen in the river while kayaking so he was unable to call for help -- he had no option other than to continue walking.

Tidwell hiked five miles before finding a road, and then motorists passed the bleeding man by for quite a while.

"No one would stop -- like 100 cars must have gone by -- and I was getting kind of disheartened," he says.

Eventually somebody picked him up and got him to a hospital, where doctors were able to treat him in time.

After his frightening ordeal, Tidwell says he's come to a conclusion: "I'm not going down to the Gila River anymore."

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James King
Contact: James King