A 14-year-old boy has died after being stung by a box jellyfish while swimming at Eimeo Beach in Mackay Queensland on Saturday.
The teen was reportedly seen leaving the water around 2:30 pm with two meters of deadly tentacles wrapped around his legs.
Lifesavers and other beachgoers rushed to his aid offering CPR after the boy went into cardiac arrest.
The ambulance reportedly arrived soon after and transported him to Mackay Hospital where he sadly died a short time after.
One mother told the Daily Mercury the teenager had stumbled through the water with an “unreadable expression on his face" before letting out a groan for help.
“He had gone into shock,” Kirby Dash told the publication.
Other parents began screaming at their own kids who were still swimming in the water at the time, she said.
Eimeo Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) president Ross Gee said the boy was doused with eight gallons of vinegar, as recommended by Queensland Ambulance Service, while a group of men helping the boy tried to remove the stingers from his body.
The beach is now closed for the rest of the weekend as the SLSC warns swimmers to "stay out of the water."
Grave warning about box jellyfish
The box jellyfish is considered one of the most dangerous marine animals in Australian waters and they've caused more than 70 fatalities in Australia, according to Queensland Health.
The species that is most often associated with deaths in Australia is Chironex fleckeri, Professor Culum Brown from Macquarie University told Yahoo News Australia.
"The venom (a neuro toxin) is so strong it can cause cardiac arrest within two minutes and it's arguably the most dangerous venom in the sea," he said.
Named for their body shape, box jellyfish have 15 deadly tentacles covered with tiny darts loaded with poison, otherwise known as nematocysts, according to the National Ocean Service.
“People and animals unfortunate enough to be injected with this poison may experience paralysis, cardiac arrest, and even death, all within a few minutes of being stung,” their website reads.
The boy's death is the second in just over a year after a 17-year-old boy died near Cape York in February 2021.
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