Koh Samui Box Jellyfish Tragedy - Young Woman Dead
Sadly it seems as though it was just a matter of time. There have recently been credible reports of several serious jellyfish stings in the Koh Samui region. Victims have been hospitalised. On nearby Koh Phangan where there were two box jellyfish fatalities in a 12-month period in 2014-15, divers have sighted dangerous jellyfish and a few have been pulled out of the water close to the beach.
On Tuesday 6 October 2015 when night fell, a 20 year old woman from Germany decided to take a dip with a friend. It was a fatal mistake. Lamai Beach on Samui's east coast was rocked by agonising screams as the women ran out of the water and collapsed on the sand.
The metaphoric 'warning signs' have been there for years. Box jellyfish meetings and seminars have been held - this blog reported the first back in May, 2010! The Koh Samui hospitality and tourism industry has talked and talked and talked and ultimately ignored all advice. Nothing at all has been done to try and avoid a catastrophe. There is no box jellyfish safety system of any kind on Koh Samui.
Help arrived and the two women were splashed with vinegar. But tragically for one of the girls, she had received such severe box jellyfish stings that no amount of vinegar could save her. She died on the way to hospital. Her friend was kept in for observation and thankfully survived. This is such an awful outcome, a catastrophe, and such an unbelievable shock for this girl's family and friends.
A jet ski operation at Lamai spotted jellyfish in the region on the day. While some effort was made to spread the word, it wasn't enough. There are no physical warning signs at Lamai Beach. There is no system or network of communication to disseminate information and warnings. It's a popular resort area. There are plenty of tourists. It's hard to tell everyone and it's hard to keep everyone out of the water. But, here, there has been no concerted attempt by those responsible, those profiting from the island's popularity, despite informed knowledge of Koh Samui being a box jellyfish habitat.
|Two large and dangerous box jellyfish on Koh Phangan 2015|
Phuket is also busy but it has a 'dangerous jellyfish' strategy. There are warning and information signs and vinegar poles at beaches around that island. This is also the case on Koh Chang, Koh Mak and others. Koh Samui must now move without delay towards introducing their own dangerous jellyfish strategy. If it does not, it will be just a matter of time before tragedy strikes again, and again.
Note that box jellyfish are actually more active during the day than at night. They rely on a visual system to hunt their prey and this of course is easier during daylight. Swimming at night is a potentially risky activity as it is difficult to see and avoid stepping on something that could cause harm. Box jellyfish are more or less transparent and are almost as difficult to spot during the day than at night.
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