Swedish Tour Operators Hiding the Threat of Deadly Jellyfish?

Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet has reported on another Scandinavian fatality in Thailand following a box jellyfish sting.

Ann Nordh, 59, from Jonkoping, was in Thailand on holiday with her husband. She died last Sunday in the Thai resort of Cha-am, after contact with a suspected deadly box jellyfish.

This follows the case of another Swedish tourist, Moa Bergman, aged 11, who was killed by a jellyfish off the tourist island of Koh Lanta in Thailand in 2008, and another case in Malaysia, earlier this year, when a Swedish tourist, Carina Lofgren died a quick but painful death after a box jellyfish attack.

In Carina’s case, there was strong suspicion of a cover-up by the Malaysian authorities.

The doctor wrote “drowning” in my wife’s autopsy report, says widower Ronnie Löfgren.

Ronny was just three feet behind his wife Carina, 45, when the deadly jellyfish attacked.

“Suddenly she started screaming and scratched her legs frantically. I understood immediately that it was a jellyfish attack ” he says.

A few minutes later Carina Löfgren died in her husband’s arms. He could still see the tentacles around his wife’s legs.

The accident occurred in February on the island of Langkawi in Malaysia.

“The doctor concluded that drowning was the sole cause of Carina’s death. But that’s bullshit. I saw the jellyfish and the damage it caused”.

“The only conclusion I can draw from this is that Malaysians want to hide the truth about the dangers of the deadly jellyfish. They are terrified of the fact that jellyfish can scare away tourists, “he says.

There are similar fears of a cover up in Thailand from Scandinavian tour operators fearful of losing custom if the prevalence of box jellyfish becomes widely known.

Aftonbladet reported that Swedish tour operators are still playing down the threat, and only warning holidaymakers locally about the risks, when they arrive at their hotels.

Thai authorities are aware, and according to the marine biology centre in Phuket, box jellyfish have become more common in recent years in the waters off Malaysia and Thailand. The centre issued an official warning last winter when an unusual number of the deadly jellyfish were found off the coast.

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