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Non-deadly (but best avoided) jellyfish sometimes found off Phuket beaches

Swedish Girl Survives Box Jellyfish Attack

Sunday, March 7, 2010
A NINE-year-old tourist narrowly survived the stings of a box jellyfish which attacked her as she swam on a holiday island in the Gulf of Thailand, Swedish news outlets are reporting.

According to the reports, only the fast actions of a well-trained Swedish firefighter saved the young girl's life.

The ordeal of Ida Rosenberg and her parents is described in an article in the Swedish language on the site of the usually reliable and translated on

The Phuket Marine Biology Centre is regarded as the South East Asia region's prime authority on jellyfish but calls today went unanswered.

Jenny Rosenberg, 36, and her husband Frederick, 35, were out snorkelling in the waters off Koh Mak, which is not far from Koh Chang, the island second only to Phuket in size, when they heard their daughter Ida, who had been splashing around in the water close to the beach, scream in pain.

''We started swimming like mad towards the shore,'' Jenny Rosenberg told Aftonbladet.

When they reached the shore, Ida was already unconscious on the beach. Fire-fighter Anders Brunzell, 42, was administering cpr, a technique involving heart massage that is regarded as the most urgent and effective treatment in cases of drowning or shock.

Aftonbladet and Scandasia quoted Mr Brunzell as saying: ''I and my family were sunbathing a bit away. We ran to Ida and saw that her right leg was completely covered with long threads, like glass noodles.''

He and his wife ripped off the tentacles and began heart massage and mouth-to-mouth. He told staff at the nearby hotel to get vinegar, regarded as the only treatment that will stop the spread of the box jellyfish's often fatal toxicity.

The young Swedish victim was taken by boat to the mainland, where an ambulance was waiting to take her to a hospital.

The attack took place earlier this week and Ida is reported to be conscious again, although badly scarred. She and her mother plan to stay at the hospital in the Thai province of Trat for observation.

Mrs Rosenberg said: ''Because she was unconscious for so long, the hospital staff is worried that she has had brain damage. She is a bit groggy and still has a fever. But, everything else seems okay.''

Mrs Rosenberg is angry that local hotels did not warn tourists of the dangerous jellyfish although, according to the Swedish report, several people have previously died in the area from box jellyfish.

''No signs, no information. The day after Ida was burnt I was told that people were down there in the water at the same place swimming again. This should not be allowed to go on.''

The latest reported death from a box jellyfish came earlier this year. Coincidentally, the victim was a Swedish woman holidaying on the Malaysian island of Langkawi.

Officials in Thailand and Malaysia have been reluctant to report cases of deadly box jellyfish stings but the rapid expansion of all forms of jellyfish around the world makes warning tourists a high safety priority.

Phuket's Marine Biology Centre has led awareness campaigns since the death of another young tourist, also a Swedish girl, at Koh Lanta in Krabi in 2008.

There have been sightings of box jellyfish off Phuket but no confirmed attacks as yet on Phuket's popular west coast beaches.
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Comments have been disabled for this article.


This cannot have been a box jelly fish, the parents ripped of the tentacles with their bare hands? They should be dead by now if that was the case, and if it really was a box jellyfish. The girl probably got stung by some other kind of jelly fish and got some sort of allergic shock.

Editor: There's a big difference between peeling off the tentacles and being wrapped by one. If you were a parent, that's what you'd do. Yes, you'd need vinegar on your hands.

Posted by christos on March 20, 2010 20:33


Christos, there is clear medical and scientific evidence that the jellyfish that stung this girl was a Box Jellyfish.

I have ripped tentacles off with my bare hands and they are still typing.

Touching a tentacle with hard skin fingers will not kill but it will probably sting and hurt.

Also, there is no link between Box Jellyfish and allergic reactions or anaphylactic shock - none! The venom is what kills - again a scientific fact.

Recently a lethal Chironex box jellyfish was caught in the same location as this sting.

Posted by Andrew on March 27, 2010 08:29

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