Killer On The Loose In The Andaman Sea

Swimmers
are warned once again after the deadly tentacles of the box jellyfish cause
fatalities

    Tourists
snorkelling off Thailand‘s
southern coasts have been falling victim to swarms of deadly box jellyfish
lately.

    Victims
have arrived at Krabi
Provincial Hospital

and Phi Phi health station.

    “The
venom from a box jellyfish can kill a human in less than three minutes,”
said Phuket Marine Biological Centre director Wannakiat Tubtimsang yesterday.

    Warnings
about the dangerous “sea wasp” are being broadcast by relevant bodies
including the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and swimmers are being advised to
steer clear of certain waters.

    According
to Wannakiat, one swimmer died last month after suffering box-jellyfish stings.
The creatures have recently been spotted in Phuket’s Nambor
Bay, Krabi’s Loh Samah Bay and the islands of Lanta and Phi
Phi.

    “Burning
pain on the skin is the first sign of contact,” said Wannakiat, adding
that if the box jellyfish venom enters the bloodstream, the victim can suffer
congestive heart failure.

    Unlike
other members of the species, the box jellyfish actively hunts its prey. These
aggressive tendencies along with an almost-transparent body that’s difficult to
spot even at short distances make it a menace to human swimmers.

    Wannakiat
warned people against using cold water to alleviate the pain of a box-jellyfish
sting.

    “That
can make things worse,” he said. “The best solution is to apply
vinegar or hot water, then get to a doctor as fast as possible.”

    So far this
year, the box jellyfish has been blamed for at least two deaths in Thailand. The
first victim was an 11-year-old Swedish boy who was stung to death in Krabi.

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