A nine-year-old boy has died after being stung by a deadly box jellyfish in Thailand.
Li Yam Rocero Levi, from Israel, and his family were enjoying the water in front of a hotel on Ko Pha Ngan island in Surat Thani province when the boy screamed in pain and shouted for help on August 28.
His father rushed to check on him and found painful red marks around his right arms and legs while he complained of being dizzy.
Lifeguards called an ambulance and the deadly stings were immediately treated with anti-venom available from a post on the beach, but the boy died while travelling to the hospital.
Li Yam's devastated parents have now had the boy cremated on the island rather than take the body back to Israel.
Family friend Yesh Atid, who was in contact with the father, said the jellyfish's tentacles were believed to have touched Li Yam's body.
"After much deliberation, the boy's father decided to cremate the body, as is customary in Thailand," he said.
"They are heartbroken to lose their son like this."
Officials on the island, best known for its monthly Full Moon party which attracted backpackers, said there were nets in the water to prevent beachgoers from swimming too far from the shore and protect them from jellyfish.
"There were signs written in three languages around the area warning tourists not to go into the water," the island’s district chief, Poonsak Soponpathumrak, said.
"There were safe swimming spots in designated areas which were surrounded by nets to protect them from the jellyfish, but the boy went outside the netted area."
Officials said they had searched for the jellyfish responsible for the boy's death, but had not been able to find it.
Box jellyfish among most deadly animals in the world
Tourist business board chairman Somwang said the boy had "played in the sea outside the net that the club had set aside to swim in".
"Box jellyfish can be found most frequently around July, August and September. Even though the club has posted warning signs, there are still foreigners who don't follow the guidance," the chairman said.
"We have expressed our condolences to the family. We are also reminding local hotels and tourists to avoid swimming in the risky areas."
Box jellyfish are considered to be among the most deadly in the world as they contain toxins that attack the heart, nervous system and skin cells.
Victims have been known to go into shock and drown or die of heart failure before even reaching shore.
Professor Miguel Geltstein, a paediatrician and director of the Toxicology Service into Poison Research at the Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, said the risk of injury from the jellyfish was extremely high.
"In many cases, the venom immediately damages the heart and causes death in a short time. The venom contains several types of proteins and if one of the dangerous proteins manages to reach the heart, it is extremely dangerous," he said.
– Viral Press via Australscope
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.