Western Australian beachgoers have been warned to be on the alert for a potentially deadly jellyfish after a boy was stung while swimming.
Eight-year-old Ethan was playing in the shallows at Bundegi Beach near Exmouth on Monday night when he felt the sting of the Irukandji.
“We got in the car… he had excruciating pain in his back and stomach, including his chest,” his mother Jess told 6PR.
“As we got closer to our caravan, he said he felt like he was going to die.”
A sense of fear and foreboding is often reported by those who suffer from Irukandji stings
Ethan was rushed to Exmouth Hospital where he received treatment. He has now been fired.
“We were probably in the hospital within an hour of him getting the sting,” Jess said.
“It was really distressing to see him so upset.”
Parks and Wildlife Service says people should keep an eye out for Irukandji jellyfish in Ningaloo Marine Park and Exmouth Gulf after the incident.
Parks and Wildlife has warned beachgoers in the region to be on the alert for Irukandji.
“Visitors swimming, walking along the beach or fishing along the coast of Ningaloo and Exmouth Gulf should be aware of two species of Irukandji,” Parks and Wildlife said in a post on their Facebook page.
The Keesingia gigas have elongated, cubic bells and are usually between 20 and 40 cm long, while the Malo bella is about the size of a fingernail and has an elongated tentacle protruding from each of the four corners.
“If you see an Irukandji jellyfish, don’t touch it under any circumstances. Report sightings to Parks and Wildlife on 9947 8000.”
It follows a spate of Irukandji jellyfish attacks in Queensland.
Five children were stung in three separate incidents in the waters off K’gari, also known as Fraser Island, during the two weeks to January 8. While on January 14, two people were stung while swimming near Cairns.
No one died in any of these incidents, although all parties had to be hospitalized.