A 14-year-old boy who was stung by a box jellyfish in Far North Queensland has died.
Mark Angelo Ligmayo was stung on Saturday at Eimeo Beach in the Mackay region and was taken to Mackay Hospital in a critical condition.
He went into cardiac arrest on the beach and succumbed to his injuries about an hour after he arrived at the hospital.
A witness told the Daily Mercury that she saw him make it to shore with an “unreadable expression on his face” and his legs “covered in tentacles”.
The publication also reported that the screams erupted on the beach from parents calling for their children to get out of the water while others rushed to help him.
“We were there as he exited the water, quickly after that he was semi-conscious,” Eimeo Surf Life Saving Club president Ross Gee told the outlet.
“We had a defib on him the whole time, he never lost his pulse, there was shallow breathing.
“We doused him with approximately 30 litres of vinegar, all the vinegar on the beach.”
The beach has been closed until further notice and the public has been urged to stay out of the water.
Eimeo Surf Life Saving Club shared their condolences for the family on Sunday, and thanked the members of the public who assisted their volunteer lifesavers in helping Mark Angelo.
Agnes Guinumtad, Mark Angelo’s mother, told The Mercury the family had been excited to spend the day at the beach together three months after she, Mark Angelo, and his sister joined her husband in starting a new life in Australia.
Nick Guinumtad came to Australia nearly a decade ago, working as a boilermaker and taking every opportunity to visit his family in the Philippines, where they waited for visas to join him.
After Covid delayed their reunion, they were reunited in December last year and began to settle in.
“I could see my son’s face, and I could see the pain,” Mrs Guinumtad said of the moment she saw lifeguards and bystanders attempt to save her son’s life.
“I kept praying and praying, I didn’t stop praying. I prayed that he would say something.”
With the death of Mark Angelo, his family said they don’t know where to go from here.
“We are back to zero,” Mr Guinumtad told the outlet.
Mrs Guinumtad has expressed her wish to take her son’s body back to the Philippines so that her parents, who often raised him while she worked, can say a final goodbye.
“I don’t know the process, I don’t even know where to start,” she said.
The family has asked for anyone in the community who may know how to help to reach out and have started a GoFundMe to raise funds to take him home.
They have also thanked the lifeguards and bystanders who worked so hard to save their son and others who cared for their daughter while they went with him to the hospital.
Mark Angelo’s death marks the third fatal box jellyfish sting since 2006.
Large box jellyfish – which are regarded as one of the world’s most venomous animals – have caused more than 70 fatalities in Australia, according to Queensland Health.
“If you don’t have a protective suit and you know there could be stingers or jellyfish in the water, just don’t go in,” Queensland Health has previously warned.
“It’s also important that people are familiar with resuscitation methods – early resuscitation after major stings from box jellies has saved lives in the past few years.”
Image: Nic Guinumtad (Facebook)
This article first appeared on OverSixty.