Ger­man 20-year-old woman dies at pop­u­lar Thai re­sort from box jel­ly­fish sting


A 20-year-old Ger­man woman died at a pop­u­lar Thai re­sort is­land af­ter be­ing stung by a box jel­ly­fish, po­lice said Wed­nes­day, the third re­ported fatality in Thai­land in 14 months from one of the world’s most toxic jel­ly­fish.

Po­lice Lt. Col. Thewet Pruem­sut said the woman was tak­ing an evening swim Tues­day when she was stung by the jel­ly­fish, whose sting can kill an adult within min­utes. A friend of the woman, also a Ger­man tourist, was stung on the hand by a jel­ly­fish but sur­vived, he said.

The other two re­cent deaths from box jel­ly­fish oc­curred at another pop­u­lar is­land in the Gulf of Thai­land, Koh Phangan, known for the in­fa­mous Full Moon Party. A Thai woman died there af­ter be­ing stung this past Au­gust, while a 5-year-old French boy died from a sting in Au­gust 2014.

Po­lice on Sa­mui met Wed­nes­day with busi­ness own­ers and mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cials to dis­cuss how to pre­vent fu­ture ca­su­al­ties from box jel­ly­fish, which are not com­mon to most parts of Thai­land.

“Busi­ness own­ers are afraid that putting up warn­ing signs would re­duce the num­ber of tourists, but we ex­plained the ne­ces­sity of this prac­tice,” Thewet said.

He said that jel­ly­fish are typ­i­cally found in Thai wa­ters dur­ing the rainy sea­son, which runs roughly from June through Oc­to­ber.

Thon Tham­rong­nawa­sawat, a ma- rine bi­ol­ogy ex­pert and vice dean of the fish­eries depart­ment at Bangkok’s Kaset­sart Univer­sity, said that in the past seven years the num­bers of box jel­ly­fish in Thai­land have in­creased due to sev­eral fac­tors, in­clud­ing global warm­ing, waste re­leased from the shore that at­tracts jel­ly­fish seek­ing food into shal­low wa­ters, and a de­cline in the num­bers of sea tur­tles that eat jel­ly­fish.

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