A young girl has been airlifted to hospital after she suffered a suspected deadly jellyfish sting while holidaying on a popular Queensland Island.
The primary school-aged girl is the fifth child believed to have been stung by an Irukandji on K'gari — otherwise known as Fraser Island — in the past two weeks.
She was swimming in the ocean near a popular creek when she was stung on her lower back and leg. Her parents used vinegar and water on the stings before the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter landed on a beach on the western side of the island about 6.30pm on Saturday.
The Bundaberg-based chopper flew the girl in a stable condition to Hervey Bay Hospital for treatment. She is the fifth child the chopper has airlifted from the island with suspected Irukandji jellyfish stings these school holidays, with three young girls also hospitalised on December 27.
The trio included two sisters, aged five and nine, who were playing in a creek on the western side of the island when they were stung.
They were airlifted to Hervey Bay Hospital in a stable condition, as was the third girl who was stung on the chest by an Irukandji in the same creek just an hour before. The next day, a boy was stung on the leg — also while swimming in the creek.
The LifeFlight rescue chopper again landed on the beach where the boy was with his family and other tourists. He was flown to Hervey Bay Hospital in a stable condition.
Mum's horror after son stung by jellyfish
The eight-year-old’s mum described to Yahoo News Australia this week the “horrific” two hours she watched him “fight for his life”. The woman, her husband and her twin sons were enjoying a camping trip on the island when one of the children was stung on his upper leg.
“My beautiful boy was in the water screaming in pain,” she explained. “I jumped in and pulled him out. He was screaming so bad.”
Expert urges swimmers to stay out of water
The spate of suspected Irukandji stings have prompted calls to shut down the holiday hotspot, with toxinologist and James Cook University’s Associate Professor Jamie Seymour issue a dire warning to swimmers.
“If you’re down on Fraser Island on the western side of the island at the moment, I would not be getting in the water, it is that simple,” he told Yahoo News Australia.
The Irukandji jellyfish is a small, extremely venomous species of box jellyfish about two centimetres in diameter, making it difficult to notice in the water. Symptoms of being stung include shooting pains in the muscles, chest and abdomen; nausea; vomiting and breathing difficulties.
Another four people were taken to the hospital from K'gari on Sunday, one via rescue chopper, after a vehicle rollover about 7.45am near Dilli Village.
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