Boatie ‘lucky’ to sur­vive

The Sunday Times - - NEWS - JOR­DAN CUTTS TONY BAR­RASS

LIKE a bee sting and then pins and nee­dles — that’s how Mitchell Ogg de­scribes be­ing bitten by one of the world’s most ven­omous crea­tures.

The Ro­ley­stone elec­tri­cian was pulling up cray pots with his brother near Gar­den Is­land on Fri­day morn­ing when a small but deadly blueringed oc­to­pus fell on to the boat deck.

Not wear­ing any shoes, he got “whacked” by the lethal crea­ture when he in­ad­ver­tently stood on it.

The 28-year-old could feel the venom go into his bare foot.

Mitchell said it was “like a bee sting” just above his toes and then his “body went into tin­gles” with “pins and nee­dles and numb­ness all over”.

The bite, which is of­ten not painful, can cause mus­cle paral­y­sis and breath­ing dif­fi­cul­ties within min­utes.

“When you think you’ve got six min­utes to live ... the panic kicks in ... and I just tried to stay calm about it,” Mitchell said.

Wor­ried that he was go­ing to die, Mitchell mes­saged his part­ner to ex­plained what had hap­pened and to tell her that he loved her.

His brother, Ryan, di­alled 000 to get first-aid ad­vice and no­tify the emer­gency ser­vices. The broth­ers tried to re­main calm as they made a des­per­ate dash to Gar­den Is­land.

A camper sup­plied ban­dages be­fore medics at HMAS Stir­ling waded out to the boat to pro­vide help. Mitchell was then rushed to Rock­ing­ham Hos­pi­tal by am­bu­lance. For­tu­nately the venom hadn’t spread.

It was the se­cond re­ported en­counter in WA with the lethal oc­to­pus in a week.

Last week­end, a Perth girl was lucky not to have been bitten when a blue-ringed oc­to­pus emerged from a col­lec­tion of shells she had brought home from Coogee Beach.

The girl’s aunt was clean­ing the shells when the oc­to­pus came out of the shell. Luck­ily, no one was bitten.

Blue-ringed oc­to­puses are gen­er­ally six to 10cm long. They usu­ally only dis­play their iri­des­cent blue mark­ings when they feel threat­ened or are about to strike.

The broth­ers thanked the team of paramedics, the peo­ple on Gar­den Is­land who helped them, and the triple zero op­er­a­tors who talked them through the or­deal.

Mitchell knows he prob­a­bly should have been wear­ing dive boots and urged oth­ers to be vig­i­lant.

“I can’t thank the blokes and ladies who helped me, es­pe­cially my brother,” he said.

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