Holidaymakers are being urged to take extra care while swimming this holidays after a child suffered a suspected Irukandji jellyfish sting at Fraser Island.
Holidaymakers are being urged to take extra care while swimming this holidays after a child suffered a suspected Irukandji jellyfish sting at Fraser Island.

Irukandji threat: Beaches closed, boy stung

HOLIDAYMAKERS are being urged to take extra care while swimming this holidays after a child suffered a suspected Irukandji jellyfish sting at Fraser Island yesterday, the third this week.

 

The boy was reportedly swimming on the island's western shoreline when he was stung just after 1pm.

The primary school-aged child was stabilised before being flown by Lifeflight to Hervey Bay Hospital for further treatment.

It comes after all beaches from Ellis Beach to Holloways Beach near Cairns were closed after reports of the deadly stingers in the water and is the third time the RACQ chopper has been called to the island this week to aid patients with suspected stings.

The beaches north of Cairns could remain closed for several days as warm conditions bring a heightened risk of deadly stingers in the water.

All beaches from Ellis Beach to Holloways Beach were initially closed on Tuesday afternoon after lifeguards caught three irukandji at Kewarra Beach and Yorkeys Knob Beach.

The decision was made to keep the beaches closed again yesterday, including Palm Cove, Clifton Beach, Kewarra Beach, Trinity Beach and Yorkeys Knob.

American tourists Aron Smethurst and Hashem Mirlohi have a swim at the Cairns Lagoon PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS
American tourists Aron Smethurst and Hashem Mirlohi have a swim at the Cairns Lagoon PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS

Surf Lifesaving Queensland NQ regional manager Rob Davidson urged all swimmers to stay out of the water while the beaches were closed and red flags were flying.

He said lifeguards would perform stinger drags again this morning to identify any risks.

"If the conditions haven't changed (today) the risk of the irukandji still being in the water and around the local beaches is very high," he said.

"We're always going to err on the side of caution. Patron safety is the most important thing to us."

Mr Davidson said from November through until May/June, the risk of stingers in Far Northern waters was very high.

"With our current prevalent conditions, which is the warm water, northerly winds and calm conditions on the coast, that's when we see the irukandji come in," he said. The marine resistant stinger enclosures aren't designed for irukandji, so all we can do is follow our policies and procedures.

"We're a week away from Christmas and we want a fatality-free festive season where people can have fun, enjoy family, but they need to think about what they're doing before they do it. Stay safe …"

Far North beaches that remain open, include Port Douglas, Green Island, Bramston Beach, Etty Bay, Kurrimine Beach, North Mission Beach and South Mission Beach.

 

Jon Jarred, 10, and Jhett Mail, 6, swim at Stony Creek regularly. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Jon Jarred, 10, and Jhett Mail, 6, swim at Stony Creek regularly. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

 

RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Chief Medical Officer, Dr Allan Mackillop, said before heading to the beach people should educate themselves about what to do if they're stung.

"Always have vinegar on you.

"The use of vinegar, applied to the impacted area and then gently remove the tentacles once the vinegar has been applied," Dr Mackillop said.



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